Since the 2000's, the “Dog Genetics” team (IGDR CNRS-University of Rennes 1) has been interested in the dog as a spontaneous model to analyse genetic components of rare and/or complex human homologous diseases. To accomplish this task, the team has set up a biobank of canine samples unique in France : the Cani-DNA Biological Resource Centre.
Cani-DNA collects blood and tissue samples from dogs of all breeds together with genealogical, phenotypical and clinical data. Samplings are performed by veterinarian practitioners with the agreement of dog owners. The main goal of the BRC is to extract DNA and RNA from these samples and to store resulting specimens in order to distribute them to the scientific community after quality controls.
The Cani-DNA BRC relies on a national veterinarian network that includes practitioners, histopathology and analyses laboratories, specialised hospitals and clinics, cancer and imaging centres. Since 2012, a framework contract established by the CNRS of Rennes between the “Dog Genetics” team, the four National Vet School (NVS : Alfort, Nantes, Lyon, Toulouse) and the Antagene animal genetics company (Lyon) gives a national dimension to this BRC. Moreover Cani-DNA is part of the CRB-Anim Infrastructure, a french project aiming to gather the biobanks of domestic animal species funded in the context of the "Projets Investissements d’Avenir” PIA1 (2012-2022).
In 2021, Cani-DNA contains 32 000 blood-extracted DNA samples of which 18 000 are stored in the Rennes site, 8000 in the four NVS and 6000 in the Antagene company. Moreover, some 6000 tissue samples more specifically are available for comparative cancer projects.
This resource represents some 300 dog breeds and over 100 human homologous genetic disease models among with many cancers (sarcomas, melanomas, lymphomas, gliomas, breast tumors...) and many other genetic diseases. Those samples often associated with rare diseases in human but frequent in a given dog breed represent an original resource of spontaneous models of rare human diseases such as genodermatoses, neuropathies, epilepsies, retinopathies and development anomalies. The BRC associated database also represents an epidemiological resource for all these canine diseases. It allows research & development on genetic tests aiming to reduce the incidence of these diseases in affected breeds.
Cani-DNA BRC samples are available for the national and international scientific community working on human and veterinary genetic research projects, for the benefit of both human and canine health.