Leif Andersson on Domestic Animals as Model Organisms
  Leif Andersson     Biography    
Recorded: 08 May 2008

It’s to understand what the gene and the genome is doing. And for me it’s particularly interesting to understand how genes influence traits in different organisms. So, and I’m working with domestic animals as a model to understand the link between genes and traits.

In the beginning there was this naïve view that as soon as we could get the genome sequence we would understand the human biology or the biology of any species. But soon we learned there is so much in the genome to figure out, and that is, that was when the concept of functional genomics came out. To try and understand what is all the genes doing, and how are they are regulated, and how do they determine the biological processes.

So as I said, I mean I started in Uppsala in 1980. So in the fall of 1980 I started to work with domestic animals, so for the first three, four years I was working with classical genetics and from ’84 I learned to do molecular genetics, so I was one of the first in the world to use molecular genetics in domestic animals. And then some years later I was one of the first to use genomics in domestic animals. So I have—it’s been a wonderful time, I have followed the development of the field of genetics when new tools become available every year almost and I could apply that to answer the questions we are interested in.

Leif Andersson is a professor in Functional Genomics at Uppsala University and guest professor in Molecular Animal Genetics at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala.

His research group did pioneering work using domestic animals for genetic dissection of monogenic and multifactorial traits. Main research project includes genetic analysis of divergent intercrosses in chicken, horses and pigs. Andersson's group describe the genes and mutations affecting a certain trait and study the mechanism of the genes and regulatory elements affected by the mutations.