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Dognition and Embark Veterinary Begin World’s Largest Canine Behavioral Genetics Study


October 31, 2016

Embark Veterinary and Dognition are partnering to conduct the largest study on dog behavior and genetics. This unparalleled opportunity will give owners deeper insights into their dogs’ minds and alert owners if their dog is likely to develop certain genetic conditions that will have an impact on their health. For the first time, consumers will have access to this extensive level of insight about their dog’s health and behavior.

The new partnership between Embark, the world leader in dog DNA testing, and Dognition, the pioneering, online dog cognition service, will be the largest canine behavioral genetics study to date, with more than 5,000 dogs taking part. The study will be led by Embark’s co-founder Dr. Adam Boyko, assistant professor in Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University, and a world renown dog geneticist, and Dognition’s co-founder, Dr. Brian Hare, an associate professor in Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke University, a New York Times bestselling author and one of the top canine cognition experts in the world.

Dr. Boyko and Dr. Hare have spent the last decade trailblazing new insights in dog evolution, genetics, health and cognition. The new partnership will allow us to understand why dogs act the way they do. By pairing cognitive and behavioral data on dogs with genetic information, researchers will explore:

  • The origin of behavioral tendencies
  • The most effective training methods to use with dogs at different ages and stages of their development
  • The level to which environment and breed affect each dog’s behavior
  • The rate of cognitive decline based on genes and breed

“This is a great opportunity to give owners insights into their dog while driving scientific discoveries,” Dr. Boyko said. “This study is bigger than anything we’ve seen before and will focus on understanding the genes in dogs that influence cognition. Because dogs are all so different behaviorally, they’re ideal for uncovering the genes behind bembarkehavior, and the genes we find in dogs will be important in studying people.”

Dr. Hare is also excited about the opportunity.

“Dogs have an extraordinary ability to understand us in ways that no other species can,” Dr. Hare said. “Understanding the secrets inside their minds is going to take this kind of research, and we can’t wait to get started.”

The study is expected to uncover interesting discoveries.

“The ability to marry vast quantities of genetic and behavioral information in dogs will propel canine research into new territory and make a major contribution to many fields of animal health including veterinary medicine, animal behavior research, nutrition and animal psychiatry,” said Dr. Nicholas H. Dodman, professor emeritus, Tufts University and author of “Pets on the Couch.”

The study is open to dogs of any breed and is available worldwide. Customers will receive a discount on the combined Dognition and Embark testing panels through http://try.embarkvet.com/dognition/ and will be updated as the study progresses. They will also receive the full Embark and Dognition results currently available to customers, including over 160 health conditions, breed analysis and a report detailing the dog’s cognitive profile. Enrollment began October 24.

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