Professor Alan Archibald (FRSE)

Personal Chair of Mammalian Molecular Genetics


Alan L. Archibald has a personal chair in Mammalian Molecular Genetics in the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh. He is based in the Division of Genetics and Genomics at The Roslin Institute and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh. Professor Alan Archibald is internationally recognised in the field of farm animal genetics and genomics research.

He co-led the first international farm animal genome project – PiGMaP. Together with Professor Chris Haley he was awarded the Royal Agricultural Society of England’s Research Medal in 1997 for research work of benefit to agriculture. He contributed to the leadership of international efforts to establish draft reference genome sequences for pigs and sheep as publsihed in 2012 and 2014 respectively. he co-led the international collaboration to use third generation sequencing technology to improve the pig reference genome sequence as published in 2020. He was a key initiator of the global Functional Annotation of Animal Genomes (FAANG) project. 

His research is concerned with understanding the genetic control of complex traits, including production efficiency, product quality and host response to infectious disease, mainly in pigs and cattle. He has also contributed to and led projects concerned with genetic modification and genome editing in sheep and pigs, including a project to use genome editing to engineer resistant to Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus (PRRSV).

Professor Archibald is as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, which is Scotland’s National Academy of Science and Letters. In 2016 he was elected as a Fellow of the International Society for Animal Genetics (ISAG) in recognition of distinguished service to the Society and the livestock animal genetics industry over a long period of time.


1981 Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of Edinburgh Bovine serum amylase polymorphism

1973 Bachelor of Science, University of Edinburgh

Responsibilities & affiliations

External Committees

EMBL-EBI European Variation Archive - Scientific Advisory Board

Functional Annotation of Animal Genomes (FAANG) - Steering Committee

Swine Genome Sequencing Consortium – steering committee

Postgraduate teaching

Postgraduate students, Honours students

Previous students:

Warr A, Lost Pigs and Broken Genes: The search for causes of embryonic loss in the pig and the assembly of a more contiguous reference genome. (PhD, 2018)

C.M. Orrett CM, Quantitative Genetic and Genomic Analyses of the Effect of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) Outbreaks on the Reproductive Performance of sows. (PhD, 2017)

Sorensen G, Host-virus interactions in Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome virus infection. (PhD, 2014)

Hernandez SC, Genetics of litter size and prenatal survival in pigs. (PhD, 2011)

King AH, Identification of candidate genes controlling porcine female reproductive traits (PhD, 2003)

Kathirvel P, Mapping and manipulation of the murine ryanodine receptor gene (Ryr1) (PhD, )

George S, Physical mapping of the murine casein locus (PhD, 1996)

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Research summary

Understanding the genetic control of complex traits, including responses to infectious disease, in farmed animals, primarily pigs and cattle.

Characterization of the genomes of Suina species, including domestic pigs (Sus scrofa), Common warthog (Phacochoerus africanus), Red River Hog (Potamochoerus porcus), Bushpig (Potamochoerus larvatus) and Collared Peccary (Pecari tajacu).

Current research interests

Websites Professor Archibald is an active participant in several international collaborative projects and networks including: Functional Annotation of Animal Genomes (FAANG) The regulatory GENomE of SWine and CHicken: functional annotation during development​ (GENE-SWitCH) Swine Genome Sequencing Consortium see: FPC physical map available at: Annotated Sscrofa10.2 reference genome sequence available at: View of Sscrofa10.2 reference genome sequence and aligned clone end sequences available at: International Sheep Genomics Consortium see: Annotated Oar_v3.1 reference genome available at: