Canine DNA bank
Genetic research requires genetic material, DNA. This is because genes are located in a DNA sequence, which in dogs is formed out of 2,5 billion base pairs. The human DNA sequence is slightly longer, 3 billion base pairs. Within cells, DNA is organized into chromosomes. Dogs' DNA is organized into 39 pairs of chromosomes, whereas human cells have 23 chromosome pairs. The same DNA sequence is present in each dog or human cell. This is why DNA can be isolated from different kinds of samples such as blood, tissues, hair and saliva. For the purposes of our research we isolate DNA from blood, because the quantity and quality of DNA extracted from blood is much better than that of hair or saliva samples.
For the purposes of genetic research we have built a canine DNA bank in our research laboratory at Biomedicum Helsinki at the University of Helsinki. DNA is isolated from blood samples sent to us and stored in the DNA bank. Information conserning the dog and it's health as well as the information of the owner is stored in a secured database.
A large collection of samples together with up-to-date health and other information about the dog (e.g behaviour) gives us countless possibilities for genetic research. In some cases the dog may have died or put down before the sample is taken. This is especially true with the most severe diseases in different breeds. The more samples we manage to collect, the better our research can move forward. A large DNA collection also makes it possible to conduct various genetic diversity studies on different breeds. As the acceptance of dogs without a confirmed pedigree into specific breeds becomes more common, this kind of research may prove extremely useful. Furthermore, a sample stored in a DNA bank is ready for use as new gene tests are developed. There is no need to send new sample in order to test the dog.
The DNA bank can be very beneficial in the future when it comes to studying hereditary traits. In addition to diseases, many other breed-specific traits in dogs will be studied, and this is possible only with a large collection of DNA samples.
Your dog can help the genetic studies in the breed. Only a blood sample is needed. We currently have samples from more than 265 dog breeds.