Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine has opened a DNA bank through its Department of Clinical Sciences to advance study of the genetic basis for diseases in many species.
Clinicians at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals will take blood samples, with owners' written permission, from the thousands of animals they identify with genetic diseases each year. Technicians will then isolate the DNA, catalog it, and freeze it for storage.
The DNA bank will help scientists improve the diagnosis and treatment of various diseases, develop tests for inheritable diseases, and possibly create new drugs. The bank will also be helpful for studying combinations of genes that contribute to disease susceptibility.
The DNA bank's focus is diseases of dogs. But the archive will represent all species the hospital treats—including cats, horses, cattle, sheep, exotic animals, wild animals, and zoo animals. To date, blood samples have been collected from animals with various diseases, including lymphoma, hepatic disease, bleeding disorders, behavioral problems, orthopedic diseases, endocrinopathies, and cardiac disease.
Cornell's Center for Vertebrate Genomics and Baker Institute for Animal Health are also providing funding for the project.