We are excited to announce that we are ready to start collecting DNA from Patriotic Puppy Program canine participants! This is a big step forward for the program because it will allow us to look for where observable behavioral traits are encoded in the genome. This will help us identify, on a genetic basis, which dogs are better suited for detection work at the very beginning of their development instead of having to wait to see how the dog turns out as an adult.
This kind of research requires two forms of information on each dog: genotype (the DNA sequence) and phenotype (how the dog's genes are expressed in the environment). We have decided to use the Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire (C-BARQ) as our means of collecting data on phenotype. C-BARQ is free to complete, easy to use, and has been used in numerous other research studies.
We ask you, our program participants, to complete C-BARQ for your program dog at 6 and 12 months of age. Once we receive your C-BARQ response from the administrator, we will send you a DNA swab kit which you will return to the AKC. In this way, we are able to capture all the necessary information to research the connections between genes and behaviors. Participation is entirely optional, should take approximately 15-30 minutes every six months, and, to the best of our knowledge, incurs no risks to you or your dog. You will not be compensated for your participation but we will be extremely grateful for your assistance in furthering this important research!
When you are ready to complete C-BARQ for your dog, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. We will send you detailed instructions on how to complete the survey using the code for our project. It is extremely important that you enter our code in the appropriate box or else we will never see your entry and you will be waiting wondering why we haven't sent you a swab kit. So PLEASE follow the instructions!
NOVA's Ghost in Your Genes TV program provides an overview of epigenetics and its potential implications for science and medicine. Check out the NOVA website for more information, to view the program preview, read the transcript, and order a copy of the full TV program.