For decades, scientists have been researching the ways to identify, prevent, and cure genetic diseases. Ryan Boyko, dog lover and public health professional, believes he knows the secret to answering medicine’s greatest questions: dog drool.
Boyko is the founder of Embark, a startup that collects doggy DNA to test for over 100 different genetic diseases. Simply swab the inside of your pup’s cheek, ship out the saliva sample, and receive your results. You’ll learn about you furry friend’s genetic makeup, and have a better knowledge about his health and wellbeing.
But this operation’s about more than just drool. At their core, Boyko and the Embark team are interested in the ways our canine friends can teach us about our own genetic history.
Believe it or not, dogs and humans have more in common than you might think. Many canine conditions have similar characteristics to the ailments that inflict humans.
In fact, understanding the biology of doggy diseases helped us make advancements in finding treatments for anemia and diabetes back in the early 1920s. The Embark team hopes learn about the way dog diseases develop, so that they can apply similar theories to human genes.
So no, we wouldn’t recommend self-medicating with slobber just yet. But with time, your pup’s saliva might help researchers better understand the nature of genetic diseases, leading to groundbreaking cures.