Blueprints for Healthy Animals
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Programme Overview

The strategic aim of this programme is to define how the sequence, regulation and products of genes determine the development and function of body systems throughout life.

Blueprints for healthy animals is a research programme aimed at understanding how healthy animals develop, from a single fertilised cell to mature adult animals and every stage in between. 

The Roslin Institute, working with many international partners, has played a key role in the sequencing of major farm animal genomes, including chickens, pigs, cattle and sheep.  We are now using some of the latest sequencing technologies to investigate these genomes.  We use state-of-the-art techniques (such as CRISPR) to alter the sequence of genes to study how this affects their function. This means we can look at the effect of changes in the genome on the properties of tissues, organs and whole animals, and introduce genes to help us study key processes in animal development and health.

As well as studying the genome of animals, we also study animal development and physiology. We study how organs and body patterns form during embryo development, define the origin, repertoire and function of important cell types and study how normal function is maintained in body systems throughout life. The emphasis is on systems that are vital to lifelong health and productivity of animals, such as the blood and cardiovascular system, gut, reproductive system, bone and muscle, and the nervous system. The knowledge we gain will allow us to devise strategies to improve animal performance for the benefit of society, the economy and the animals we rear for food.

Key contacts


The programme is split into two themes: