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Gabriella Lindgren

Gabriella Lindgren
Guest professor, Department of Biosystems, KU Leuven, Belgium, appointed in Feb 2018. Senior Lecturer in Domestic Animal Genomics, SLU, appointed in June 2011.


I have always been interested in biology in general, and my special interest in horses and genetics started early in life. I started riding when I was eight years old and have owned a Swedish Warmblood mare that produced two offspring.


I am teaching on the Masters and graduate course in Genome Analysis and the genetic section on the Basic Medical Biology course. In addition, I teach genetics on the basic course Biology 2. Each year I ususally supervise 2-4 undergraduate students on different levels, most frequently on master level. At KU Leuven I teach on the master's course "Livestock genetics". 


Horse locomotion, physical performance and disease - genetics and genomics

Sweden has the second highest number of horses per capita in Europe and riding is one of the sports with the greatest number of participants. Horses are bred for health and physical performance and my research aims at enabling a more precise selection of healthy and elite-performing breeding animals by identifying genes and mutations that regulate critical physical aspects.

I study the domestic horse and the genetics that regulate physical performance traits and locomotion pattern, behavioural traits related to altheltic performance (flight-or-fight response), allergic eczema and the developmental disease skeletal atavism. My research involves using a combination of genomic, molecular genetic, cellular and computational tools as well as animal models, to investigate genetic variants and their phenotypic effect.

A major challenge in biology is to describe exactly how a one-dimensional sequence of nucleotides can specify a three-dimensional organism. The determination of gene function and regulation is critical for an understanding of this process.

Since early 2017 I am also engaged in a project with the aim to understand the molecular mechanisms underpinning hair growth using the horse as a model. Further, I am part of a project where we study molecular genetics of conformration and locomotion in pigs. 

Vimeo of EU funded project HORSEGENE.


I cooperate with several stakeholders, mainly horsebreeding associations and other small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the horse industry.


Educational background

Master of Science (MSc) in Agriculture (Agronomist: Biotechnology program), SLU, 1996.

PhD in Evolutionary Genetics, “Genome analysis in the horse”. Department of Evolutionary Biology, Uppsala University, Sweden, 2001.

Associate professor (Docent) since May 2009.

Previous appointments and Postdoc periods

  • Assistant professor (Forskarassistent) 2007 –2011. Dept. of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • February - April 2007. Visiting scientist, Omics Science Center, RIKEN Yokohama Institute, Yokohama, Japan
  • 2004 - 2007. KA Wallenberg Research Fellow (Forskare). Dept. of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • 2002 – 2003. Post doctoral researcher, Department of Genetics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA, USA
  • January - February 2002. Visiting scientist, Perlegen Sciences Inc., Mountain View, CA, USA
  • June - December 2001. Researcher (Forskare), Department of Evolutionary Biology, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • 1999 – 2001. PhD student. Department of Evolutionary Biology, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • 1997 – 1998. PhD student. Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden

Professional experience and awards

  • Editor for Heredity (
  • Member of the International Equine Genetic Diversity Consortium
  • Member of the Horse Genome Haplotype Committee
  • Winner of SKAPA Innovation prize (Årets Innovatör) in Uppsala county 2012. This prize is shared with Lisa S Andersson and Leif Andersson
  • Co-founder of Capilet Genetics, Inc. (established 2011)
  • Co-inventor on granted patent: A method to predict the pattern of locomotion in horses.
  • Co-inventor on patent application: A method to predict skeletal atavism in horses.
  • SLU's silver medal of merit. 2015.


I supervise three PhD students

  • Maria Rosengren. "Tracing the genetic origin of mane growth in domestic horses: an innovative model to identify genetic factors that regulate hair growth". Main supervisor. The Swedish Research Council (VR). 
  • Miguel Novoa Bravo. "“GENETICS OF COLOMBIAN PASO HORSE; PHYLOGENETICS, BIOTYPE, AND GAITS". Exchange PhD student from Colombia. Co-supervisor. Running costs covered by The Swedish Research Council Formas.
  • Tabassom Mohajershojai. "Genetics of reproduction in horses". Exchange PhD student from Iran. Co-supervisor.

I was main supervisor for Lisa S. Andersson, who defended her thesis on Sept 28, 2012 and Kim Jäderkvist Fegraeus, who defended her thesis on Oct 20, 2017. 

I was co-supervisor for Helena Chalkias, who defended her thesis on Dec 6, 2013 (SLU),  Freyja Imsland who defended her thesis on Sept 25, 2015 (Uppsala University) and co-promotor for Liesbeth François who defended her thesis on Jan 29, 2018 (KU Leuven). 

I was main supervisor for Merina Shrestha from Aug 2012 until Aug 2015. Merina defended her thesis on Jan 27, 2017. Three articles from my research group were included in the thesis.

I am mentor to two post doctoral researchers

  • Brandon D. Velie. 2015 - ongoing. Swedish Norwegian Foundation for Equine research and EC funded project HORSEGENE
  • Marina Solé. 2018 - onging. The Swedish Research Council Formas.

I was mentor to two post doctoral researchers

  • Aneta Ringholm, 2005. Carl Tryggers Stiftelse.
  • Jeanette Axelsson, 2009 - 2011. Formas. 

I have been supervisor for more than 30 master's thesis projects or equivalent projects. 

Selected publications

Publication list Gabriella Lindgren_180525.pdf

Imsland F, McGowan K, Rubin CJ, Henegar C, Sundström E, Berglund J, Schwochow D, Gustafson U, Imsland P, Lindblad-Toh K, Lindgren G, Mikko S, Millon L, Wade C, Schubert M, Orlando L, Penedo MC, Barsh GS, Andersson L. 2016. Regulatory mutations in TBX3 disrupt asymmetric hair pigmentation that underlies Dun camouflage color in horses. Nat Genet. 2016 Feb;48(2):152-8. doi: 10.1038/ng.3475. Epub 2015 Dec 21.

Kim Jäderkvist, Lisa Johansson, Minna Mäenpää, Anna Mykkänen, Lisa S. Andersson, Brandon D. Velie, Leif Andersson, Thorvaldur Árnason, Gabriella Lindgren. 2015.Different DMRT3 genotypes are best adapted for harness racing and riding in Finnhorses. J Hered. 2015 Nov-Dec;106(6):734-40. doi: 10.1093/jhered/esv062. Epub 2015 Aug 18.  

Andersson LS, Larhammar M, Memic F, Wootz H, Schwochow D, Rubin CJ, Patra K, Arnason T, Wellbring L, Hjälm G, Imsland F, Petersen JL, McCue ME, Mickelson JR, Cothran G, Ahituv N, Roepstorff L, Mikko S, Vallstedt A, Lindgren G, Andersson L, Kullander K. (2012). Mutations in DMRT3 affect locomotion in horses and spinal circuit function in mice. Nature. 2012 Aug 30;488(7413):642-6. doi: 10.1038/nature11399.

Wade CM, Giulotto E, Sigurdsson S, Zoli M, Gnerre S, Imsland F, Lear TL, Adelson DL, Bailey E, Bellone RR, Blöcker H, Distl O, Edgar RC, Garber M, Leeb T, Mauceli E, MacLeod JN, Penedo MC, Raison JM, Sharpe T, Vogel J, Andersson L, Antczak DF, Biagi T, Binns MM, Chowdhary BP, Coleman SJ, Della Valle G, Fryc S, Guérin G, Hasegawa T, Hill EW, Jurka J, Kiialainen A, Lindgren G, Liu J, Magnani E, Mickelson JR, Murray J, Nergadze SG, Onofrio R, Pedroni S, Piras MF, Raudsepp T, Rocchi M, Røed KH, Ryder OA, Searle S, Skow L, Swinburne JE, Syvänen AC, Tozaki T, Valberg SJ, Vaudin M, White JR, Zody MC; Broad Institute Genome Sequencing Platform; Broad Institute Whole Genome Assembly Team, Lander ES, Lindblad-Toh K. (2009). Genome sequence, comparative analysis, and population genetics of the domestic horse. Science. 2009 Nov 6;326(5954):865-7. doi: 10.1126/science.1178158.

Lindgren G,  Backstöm N, Swinburne J, Hellborg L, Einarsson A, Sandberg K, Cothran G, Vilà C, Binns MM & Ellegren H. (2004). Limited Number of Patrilines in Horse Domestication. Nature Genetics 36(4): 335-6.


Description of selected research projects





Publications list: