Lisa Marr wanted to know more about the 2-year-old Australian cattle dog she had adopted in Missouri. So like a growing number of dog owners, the Ohio college professor bought a kit to test his DNA.
In February, she took a saliva sample from Badge and mailed it to Embark Veterinary, a Boston startup. A few weeks later, she learned that he is indeed a purebred. But Embark also sent her an email containing what it said “could be alarming news.”
As part of the $140 test, Embark screened Badge for about 170 genetic conditions and found that he had two copies of a mutation linked to a form of progressive retinal atrophy, which causes blindness. Marr, a 55-year-old biology professor who lives outside of Columbus, felt better after an Ohio veterinary ophthalmologist and other cattle dog owners told her it could be years before Badge goes blind.