Reliability of non-invasive tissue sampling methods for DNA extraction in rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus)


  • Manel Ben Larbi Institut National Agronomique de Tunisie
  • A. Tircazes Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA)
  • K. Feve Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA)
  • F. Tudela Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA)
  • G. Bolet Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA)



rabbit, DNA extraction, tissue sampling, faeces, hair


Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) can be extracted from different tissue sources. The most common is blood, but in some situations it can be easier to take a biopsy. In some cases when it is difficult to capture animals, especially in wild populations, faeces and hairs can be considered as a source of DNA. This paper presents a pilot study conducted to compare the applicability of invasive and non-invasive sampling methods for extracting DNA for use in genetic studies of rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). The study included 24 rabbits from the INRA 1001 strain.  Blood, hair, ear biopsies and faeces were collected and used as DNA sources. Our aim was to verify the quantity of DNA obtained from different tissues using two or three types of extraction. DNA was obtained for all tissue types and all extraction methods.

DNA extraction was shown to be optimal with the LGC (Laboratory of Cellular Genetics) blood extraction method. With regard to non-invasive methods, DNA extraction for hair using the LGC protocol and QIAamp® DNA mini kit gave very low quantities of DNA that could not be used for PCR reactions. The Chelex extraction protocol gave good results for PCR but could not be quantified. DNA extracted from faeces is a viable source of DNA for determining individual genotypes. The use of such non-invasive samples as a source of genetic material is a recent and very promising technique, especially for the study of endangered species, but these techniques are still too unreliable and costly to altogether replace invasive techniques when the latter are possible.


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Author Biographies

Manel Ben Larbi, Institut National Agronomique de Tunisie

Laboratoire des ressources animales et alimentaires

A. Tircazes, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA)

Station d’Amélioration Génétique des Animaux

K. Feve, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA)

Laboratoire de Génétique Cellulaire

F. Tudela, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA)

Pôle Expérimental Cunicole de Toulouse

G. Bolet, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA)

Station d’Amélioration Génétique des Animaux


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