Friday, January 13, 2017

Delilah's Embark Results!

Public Results (<- Link)

Overall I'm very impressed with this test! I had initially wanted it because I was curious about Delilah's breed, but the health results and genetic traits ended up being much more interesting and useful to me! This was very, very cool.  If I wanted I could download her raw genetic data from over 200,000 markers if I wanted to use or interpret it myself, but that's way over my head.  Another nice thing that they do is update your test results for free as research advances and they find new genetic associations to test for and interpret.  I'm so glad we did this test, it was well worth the price and the wait!  Here are some points of interest from Delilah's results.

Health Results

Delilah was tested for 162 genetic diseases and disorders. Surprisingly, she was clear for all of them! Not even a carrier. Not every disease tested for exists in terriers, many of them are breed specific diseases. But I guess the idea is if you have a mutt and you don't know what it is, it could potentially have any of them.  I don't think you'll be able to see her health results on her public profile, so I took a screen shot of the summary.  Obviously, it goes into much more detail about each disease that was tested for.


The test says that Delilah is about 88% Russell-Type Terrier (Jacks, Parsons, and Russell terriers) and 12% Rat Terrier. I suspected Rat Terrier, I didn't really think she was JRT at all! Even the ones without the short legs tend to be sturdier dogs. Additionally, the analysis estimated her weight to be around 18 lbs, which would make sense for a JRT x Rat Terrier mix, but Delilah is only a third of that size!

I emailed the company asking about the size and telling them that I had suspected Delilah to be a Toy Fox Terrier. They got back to me within 24 hours and this was the response:

"I can understand why you would wonder that. Delilah shares five times as much of her genetic material with Russell-Type Terriers than Toy Fox Terriers, which is consistent with Russell-Type Terrier ancestry (as you point out the two breeds are related so any dog that has one in them will also have some---but less---genetic material matching the other breed). So it's not really possible that she has much Toy Fox Terrier in her. With that said, it's impossible with these related breeds to rule out small genetic contributions from a breed like Toy Fox Terrier that are masked by the much larger Russell-Type Terrier ancestry, and it's possible that contributed to her looks. But I want to stress that from her genes, she most likely is 88% Russell-Type Terrier and 12% Rat Terrier, and she certainly has no more than 5% Toy Fox Terrier in any case. 

Regarding her size, the genetics for extremely large or extremely small size aren't very well known. Our algorithm uses all the known body size loci and Delilah had the small version of almost all of them which is why she is predicted to be a small dog (<20 lbs). We're hoping to use dogs of extreme size (both large and small) to help scientists discover the mutations that differentiate small dogs from tiny dogs (and large dogs from massive dogs), and will add Delilah's weight information to our research panel. Thanks for sending it!" 

I had really suspected Toy Fox Terrier!  I guess now I get to call Delilah my Teacup Russell! :P  My boyfriend's calling her a Jack Rat. 

Delilah and Leo, a full Jack Russell

Traits/Advanced Results

I've just always been interested in coat color genetics so I found that section to be pretty interesting. Also the JRT and Rat Terrier would explain why she's red and white with a mask since TFTs can't be that color.  It looks like Embark recently updated their site and you can't currently see advanced results on Delilah's public profile.  Here's a little glimpse of what they look like.


The traits section is the section where I first noticed something unusual. Her inbreeding coefficient is 47%, which is very high. I always suspected she was a little inbred because she's a little mentally abnormal, and we've always had some sort of health or behavior issue going on with her. I didn't realize it was that high. A brother x sister mating would result in an inbreeding coefficient of roughly 50%.

There are a couple of visuals included that also indicate a brother x sister mating (as opposed to a 100% inbred dog crossed with a non inbred dog). One is on the summary when it breaks down the breed mix by chromosome. Rather than a pure Russell crossed with a Russell x Rat Terrier, it looks like the chromosomes from each parent (in a chromosome pair, one comes from the father and one from the mother) are very similar and both contain mostly JRT DNA with a little bit of Rat Terrier DNA. In some pairs, such as 13 and 37, the chromosomes look almost identical. So the parents were the same mix. This is represented in the family tree, where both parents had an identical background. It really looks like her parents were indeed siblings. This explains SO MUCH about her health and mental issues.


  1. "Jack rat"?! BOL, that's a funny breed name! I like it.

  2. Very interesting results. I did the Wisdom panel with Ptera, so the analysis parts were a little different. But it is all super interesting.

  3. Isn't it great to have so much information about her! I'm so glad you got this done. JRT and Rat Terriers are both such wonderful breeds. The company that did this sounds fantastic.