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Dirk-Jan De Koning

Dirk-Jan De Koning
Professor in Animal Breeding.


I am interested to dissect the genetic basis of variation in complex traits and use of this information in breeding programs. My research covers traditional livestock species as well as excursions to fish, mice and even plants.


My research focuses on linking DNA variation to functional variation in livestock and beyond. I am interested in experimental design as well as data analysis and bioinformatics. A large research project is on the development of novel tools for molecular breeding in RA2 of Mistra Biotech

A core area of my research is bone weakness in laying hens. This is a major welfare concern in all egg production systems but genetics can make a strong contribution.

In dairy cattle, I have projects about the genomics of fertility, modelling of susceptibility and recovery to mastitis, quality of colostrum, and variation in milk coagulation. In the DEFEND project we are studying new ways to mitigate African Swine Fever (in pigs) and Lumpy Skin Disease (in cattle). In the REDIVERSE project we aim to strengthen the genetic improvement of red dairy breds across Europe. 

We have established new research in the area of aquaculture. On the periphery I am Senior Editor for G3|Genes, Genomes, Genetics, editor for Genetics and former editor of Heredity and Executive committee member of the Genetics Society (UK).


  • MSC, Wageningen University 1996
  • PHD, Wageningen University 2001
  • 2007 - 2010 Band 4 Group Leader*, Roslin Institute
  • 2003 - 2007 Career Track Appointment, Roslin Institute
  • 2001 - 2003 Post- Doctoral position, Roslin Institute
  • 1997 - 2001 PhD Student, Wageningen University
  • 1996 – 1997 MTT Agricultural Research Centre of Finland

*1-10-2007: Merger of the Roslin Institute with University of Edinburgh

Selected publications

Cabrera, C P; Dunn, I C; Fell, M; Wilson, P W; Burt, D W; Waddington, D; Talbot, R; Hocking, P M; Law, A; Knott, S; Haley, C S; de Koning, D J. 2012. Complex traits analysis of chicken growth using targeted genetical genomics. Animal Genetics 43: 163-71.

Schokker D, DJ De Koning, JMJ Rebel, MA Smits. 2012. Shift in chicken intestinal gene association networks after infection with Salmonella. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part D: Genomics and Proteomics 6: 339–347.

Strucken EM, Bortfeldt RH, de Koning DJ, Brockmann GA, 2012. Genome-wide associations for investigating time-dependent genetic effects for milk production traits in dairy cattle. Animal Genetics 43: 375–382.

Volckaert FAM, Bart Hellemans, Costas Batargias, Bruno Louro, Cécile Massault, Jeroen KJ Van Houdt, Chris Haley, Dirk-Jan de Koning, Adelino VM Canario. 2012. Heritability of cortisol response to confinement stress in European sea bass dicentrarchus labrax. Genetics Selection Evolution 44:15-19.



Publications list: