Canine models of human rare disorders

Rare Dis. 2016 Sep 28;4(1):e1241362. doi: 10.1080/21675511.2016.1241362. eCollection 2016.


Millions of children worldwide are born with rare and debilitating developmental disorders each year. Although an increasing number of these conditions are being recognized at the molecular level, the characterization of the underlying pathophysiology remains a grand challenge. This is often due to the lack of appropriate patient material or relevant animal models. Dogs are coming to the rescue as physiologically relevant large animal models. Hundreds of spontaneous genetic conditions have been described in dogs, most with close counterparts to human rare disorders. Our recent examples include the canine models of human Caffey (SLC37A2), van den Ende-Gupta (SCARF2) and Raine (FAM20C) syndromes. These studies demonstrate the pathophysiological similarity of human and canine syndromes, and suggest that joint efforts to characterize both human and canine rare diseases could provide additional benefits to the advancement of the field of rare diseases. Besides revealing new candidate genes, canine models allow access to experimental resources such as cells, tissues and even live animals for research and intervention purposes.

Keywords: Caffey; Raine; disease; dog; gene; van den Ende-Gupta.