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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.

Deputy Head of Department 2013-2018 (last two years as joint HoD)
From April 2019- March 2022 Vice dean for research and research education


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


PhD students, completed:

Suzanne Rowe, Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, defended October 2008 (main supervisor).

Alex Lam, Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, defended January 2009 (main supervisor).

Claudia Cabrera, Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, defended June 2009 (main supervisor).

Cecile Massault, Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh and Wageningen University, defended July 2010 (co-supervisor).

Zhang Zhe, China Agricultural University, Beijing (co-supervisor), defended 2011

Eva Strucken, Humbolt University, Berlin (Co-supervisor), defended June 2012.

Imran Zahoor, Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, (co-supervisor) defended December 2012.

André Hidalgo, SLU and WUR, defended December 2015 (SLU main supervisor)

Bruno Louro, Universidade do Algarve, Faro (co-supervisor), defended 2015

Sandrine Duchémin, SLU and WUR, defended May 2016 (SLU main supervisor)

Xiaowei Mao, Aarhus University and SLU Defended 21 November 2016(SLU main supervisor)

Amabel Tenghe, WUR and SLU, Defended 28 April 2017 (co-supervisor)

Berihu Welderufael, Aarhus University and SLU, Defended 20 November 2017 (main supervisor)

Jovana Marjanovic. WUR and SLU, Defended 20 April 2018 (SLU main supervisor)

Sofia Nyman, SLU, Defended PhD 18 May 2018 (co-supervisor)

Levinus Leonard, UDSM Tanzania, Defended February 2019 (co-supervisor)

PhD students, in-progress:

Juan Cordero, SLU and WUR (main Supervisor)

Esinam Amuzu, Wageningen University and SLU (SLU main supervisor)

Zeratsion Abera Desta, SLU (co-supervisor)

Vinicius da Silva, Wageningen University and SLU (co-supervisor)

Christer Simon, SLU and UDSM Tanzania, (main supervisor)

Redempta Athanas, SLU and UDSM Tanzania, (main supervisor)

Moses Mbiru, UDSM Tanzania, (co-supervisor)

Post-doctoral supervision

Wenhua-Wei, June 2005-May 2009, now lecturer in Statistical Genetic at Manchester University

Suzanne Rowe, October 2008-December 2010. Now Research Lead at Ag-Research New Zealand

Burak Karacaören, January 2008-June 2010, now at University of Akdeniz, Turkey

Javad Nadaf, September 2009-August 2010, now at McGill University, Canada.

Fernando Lopes-Pinto: December 2011- September 2015, now researcher at SLU

Elisabeth Jonas: March 2012-June 2016, now associate professor at SLU

Anna Maria Johansson: January 2013-June 2015, now associate professor at SLU

Sandrine Duchemin: September 2016- December 2018

Elena Mouresan: September 2016-December 2018

Martin Johnsson: March 2017-ongoing

Kim Jäderkvist: January 2018-April 2018

Sofia Nyman: June 2018-ongoing

Tomas Klingström: October 2018-ongoing

Selected publications

Removal of alleles by genome editing (RAGE) against deleterious load
Martin Johnsson, R. Chris Gaynor, Janez Jenko, Gregor Gorjanc, Dirk-Jan de Koning and John M. Hickey. 2019 Removal of alleles by genome editing (RAGE) against deleterious load. Genetics Selection Evolution 2019 51:14

Biaty Raymond, Anna Maria Johansson, Heather Anne McCormack, Robert Hall Fleming, Matthias Schmutz, Ian Chisholm Dunn, Dirk Jan De Koning. 2018. Genome-wide association study for bone strength in laying hens. Journal of Animal Science 96 (7), 2525-2535

Rongyan Zhou, Dirk Jan de Koning, Heather McCormack, Peter Wilson, Ian Dunn. 2019. Short tandem repeats and methylation in the promoter region affect expression of cystathionine beta-synthase gene in the laying hen. Gene: X, 100017




Publications list: