Gene mapping in Soay sheep by linkage and linkage disequilibrium analysis

We are investigating the genetic architecture of fitness-related traits in a free-living population of Soay sheep on the remote Scottish archipelago of St. Kilda.

Soay sheep grazing at St Kilda, Scotland.
Soay sheep at St Kilda

The team is split between the Institute of Cell, Animal and Population Biology at the University of Edinburgh and the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield.

The main aim of this component of the project is to identify, type and analyse single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in various regions of the Soay sheep genome. Genomic regions of interest will include:

  1. regions known to be segregating for quantitative trait loci (QTL) for fitness-related traits, and
  2. genes known to cause variation in fecundity and growth in domestic sheep.

Collaborators in Edinburgh will be using microsatellites to linkage map QTL for fitness traits in the study population.


Dr Jake Gratten (2003-2006) - Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr Philine Feulner (2007-2009) - Postdoctoral Researcher

Susan Johnston (2006-2011) - Postgraduate Student


Professor Jon Slate, Co-Investigator


Josephine Pemberton, Principal Investigator (Edinburgh)

Peter Visscher, Co-Investigator (Edinburgh)

Other personnel involved in the project

Dario Beraldi (Graduate RA, Edinburgh)


St Kilda (includes St Kilda Soay Sheep Project). St Kilda is in the care of the National Trust for Scotland.

The National Trust for Scotland

This project is funded by the Natural Environmental Research Council under the Environmental Genomics Thematic program.

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