Basr, working the mountains in Armenia. Photo Tigran Grigoryan
What and Why?
Embark was started by two brothers and is an official research partner of Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. In 2018 AGCA collaborated with Embark to create the Armenian Gampr DNA breed profile. Over time, many samples were collected, and the breed baseline was created. Since then, more samples have been submitted by the Club and individuals, strengthening and narrowing the defining genetic information.
As of 2021, Embark is still the only company in the world with Gampr as a breed ID! We did this not only for breed ID but so owners, breeders, and genetics enthusiasts would have a personalized tool for tracking important information about the health of our dogs and gene pool. In May 2021, Breed Profile - Phase 3 was initiated!
Embark DNA test checks for over 200 genetic health risks, which continues to increase as more research is completed. Thankfully, our breed is generally healthy, and we only need to track a few things applicable to our Breed. As long as we use tools like Embark and are mindful of breeding, we can continue to help keep our gene pool healthy.
The Embark results that we should be tracking:
*Breed ID- As a landrace breed, this profile currently has around 90% accuracy. The markers are less clear when dogs were mixed 4 generations back or more. It is important to understand that we do not identify the breed based on Embark results alone, but it is an important part of a multi-part investigation.
*Coefficient of Inbreeding (COI%)- This tells what percent the dog's ancestors were related to and is important for breeders to consider when pairing with a mate. A 30-40% result is high but is not uncommon, and a dog with higher values should be paired with a low percentage mate.
*Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)- About 25% of our current tested breed shows up as a SINGLE carrier of Degenerative Myelopathy, an incurable spinal cord disease. Single carriers should be paired with a dog who is not a carrier.
*Gangliosidosis (GM2) is a fatal neurodegenerative lysosomal storage disease that ends in early death. This rare (to our breed) disease is now being studied since 3% of our dogs tested are single carriers.
The benefits of DNA testing your Gampr is well worth the cost and is just as helpful to owners as it is to breeders. Be sure to share your Gampr's results with your Vet.
One of the first ten Embark samples, a nice female from Norik's camp.
Embark your Gampr
Embark DNA testing is very easy. Start by ordering your kit, which should arrive to you in about a week or so. Once you receive the kit, you can set up an Embark account and enter in your dog's personal info. Swab the pocket of your dog's lower cheek pouch (between gum and cheek) for 30 seconds with the provided collection sponge, then unscrew the unit and place the sponge in the fluid filled end. Shake gently for 10 seconds and the sample is ready to go in the mail. Put the sample in the included plastic envelope and original shipping box using the prepaid return label that's included. Embark keeps you updated with the status of your sample until the results are available.
We would love to hear if you have Embark DNA tested your Gampr! Let us know