Professor John Woolliams

The Roslin Institute

Research Interests

My research in quantitative genetics is concerned with genetic change, which is the primary objective of most commercial breeding schemes. Breeding schemes wish to maximize the rate of change towards their objectives (ΔG). However there are risks involved in breeding schemes; such as introducing undesirable characteristics including genetic diseases, or losing variation for further change; the probability or speed of these risks occurring is closely related to the rate of inbreeding (ΔF). My main area of interest has been to exploit the concept of a long-term genetic contribution of an ancestor, which is the proportion of genes in an individual that derive from the ancestor by descent. This has included placing the work into the context of our increasing understanding of DNA its implications, and the need to understand how linked genes flow through populations. This has proved to be a unifying concept, both conceptually and as a predictive framework that has provided solutions to many long-standing genetic problems, as well as the new challenges arising from DNA technology.

Additionally my contact and implementation work with commercial breeding schemes has led to an interest in developing necessary attributes for sustainable breeding schemes, including in situ and ex situ conservation schemes and selection programmes in developing countries, and working with highly effective commercial breeding companies in the developed world.

Selected Publications

  • Theo He Meuwissen, Trygve R Solberg, Ross Shepherd, John A Woolliams. 2009. A fast algorithm for BayesB type of prediction of genome-wide estimates of genetic value. Genetics Selection Evolution Vol: 41 Pages: 2. More»
  • Stephen C. Bishop, John A. Woolliams. 2010. On the Genetic Interpretation of Disease Data. PLoS ONE Vol: 5. More»
  • Andreas Kranis, Almas A Gheyas, Clarissa Boschiero, Frances Turner, Le Yu, Sarah Smith, Richard Talbot, Ali Pirani, Fiona Brew, Pete Kaiser, Paul M Hocking, Mark Fife, Nigel Salmon, Janet Fulton, Tim M Strom, Georg Haberer, Steffen Weigend, Rudolf Preisinger, Mahmood Gholami, Saber Qanbari, Henner Simianer, Kellie A Watson, John A Woolliams, David W Burt. 2013. Development of a high density 600K SNP genotyping array for chicken. BMC Genomics Vol: 14. More»
  • Hans D. Daetwyler, Beatriz Villanueva, John A. Woolliams. 2008. Accuracy of Predicting the Genetic Risk of Disease Using a Genome-Wide Approach. PLoS ONE Vol: 3 Pages: -. More»
  • Thomas W. Lewis, Sarah C. Blott, John A. Woolliams. 2010. Genetic Evaluation of Hip Score in UK Labrador Retrievers. PLoS ONE Vol: 5 Pages: -. More»
  • Hans D. Daetwyler, Ricardo Pong-Wong, Beatriz Villanueva, John A. Woolliams. 2010. The Impact of Genetic Architecture on Genome-Wide Evaluation Methods. Genetics Vol: 185 Pages: 1021-1031. More»
  • John A Woolliams and 50 others. 2009. Genome-wide survey of SNP variation uncovers the genetic structure of cattle breeds. Science Vol: 324 Pages: 528-32. More»