DNA Profiling of Animals

Period of Performance: 04/20/1995 - 04/19/1996


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Charles River Therion Corporation
Troy, NY 12180
Principal Investigator


Non-human primates play an increasingly important role in biomedical research because of their similarities to humans. The supply of this vital resource from nature has become limited due to habitat destruction and export/import sanctions. The responsibility to provide a dependable supply of primates falls heavily upon domestic captive breeding programs. To insure maximum genetic diversity within the breeding colonies and enhance their vitality, technologies must be developed to genetically monitor paternity, relatedness and genetic variability. Although capable of differentiating species and substantiating phylogeny, karyology and biochemical analyses have shown limited utility with respect to intraspecific differentiation/identity. Because of greater variation at the DNA sequence level, DNA profile testing is a candidate for this purpose. In Phase I of the study Therion Corporation has conclusively shown the utility of the OPT(TM)-series of multi-locus DNA probes to assay variable loci in ten species of non-human primates most frequently used in biomedical research. In concert with an extensive literature, our results suggest that DNA profile testing is a powerful tool for determining true genetic parameters in primate colonies. In Phase II databases will be constructed for each of the subject species and computer software will be developed to calibrate band-sharing coefficients, determine band frequencies, estimate heterozygosity and allow manipulation of databases. Managers can use these data to verify parentage, estimate relatedness and assess genetic variability within/among colonies. Long-term aims include the development of products that will allow testing to be performed at breeding facilities. PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATION: The proposed research will allow Therion to develop and offer DNA profile testing services for genetic monitoring (paternity verification and estimation of relatedness/genetic variability) of colonies of non-human primates used for biomedical research. In the long term, Therion hopes to provide training and products that will allow the tests to be performed at both commercial and federally operated breeding facilities.