Thursday, April 13, 2017

Citizen Science for Dog Owners: Darwin's Dogs


Citizen Science for Dog Owners: Darwin's Dogs 

CT Science Nut encourages everyone to get involved in citizen science! Citizen Science allows the general public to collaborate with scientists to help push the boundaries of human knowledge.

Project: Darwin's Dogs
Goal: Study genetics and behavior in dogs to gain learn more about psychiatric and neurological diseases. 
Cost: Free! 
How to participate: Online only at https://darwinsdogs.org/
Who Can participate: Anyone with a dog! Great activity for students learning about genetics!
Level of Difficulty: Super Easy

Participate in Darwin's Dogs here: https://darwinsdogs.org/

Description: 
Darwin's Dogs (https://darwinsdogs.org/)  is a citizen science project that studies how the dog genome has changed from wolves to modern domesticated dogs. The goal of the project is to study the interaction between genetics and behavior to hopefully learn more about psychiatric and neurological diseases in dogs and humans. 

Participating in Darwin's Dogs is completely free! To participate sign up at their website (https://darwinsdogs.org/?pg=enroll), and follow the directions. After you sign up,  enroll your dog and answer the 100 question survey. The survey is designed is to give researchers a complete view of your dog's behavior. This information will then be used to help uncover genetic markers for certain behaviors. After you complete the survey, Darwin's Dogs will send you a dog DNA kit in the mail. As of right now, only US residents can receive DNA kits. To complete the study, follow the directions in the DNA kit to take a saliva sample from your dog. Then send the sample back to Darwin's Dogs and you are all set! A team of scientists will study your Dog's DNA and with time and a lot of samples they hope to associate the behaviors you indicated in the survey with your dog's DNA. 

Darwin's Dogs will share with you some information about your dog's genetics, but it is not designed as a breed test, and they will not share health information about your dog. For more information check out their FAQ page here

After participating in Darwin's Dogs, If you want to learn more about your dog's genetics, test your dog's DNA for breed identification, ancestry and over 160 different genetic diseases with this kit from Amazon: Embark Dog DNA Test · Breed Identification · 160 Health Results · 200K Genetic Markers 

Resources:
https://darwinsdogs.org
https://darwinsdogs.org/?pg=faq
https://darwinsdogs.org/?pg=about

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