Professor James Prendergast, Bioinformatics Group Leader at The University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute and Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health (CTLGH), has been appointed to the Board of Trustees of national conservation charity Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST).


RBST works UK-wide to conserve and promote the UK’s rarest native breeds of livestock and equines. Rare breeds currently categorised as Priority or At Risk on the RBST Watchlist include North Ronaldsay sheep, Native Aberdeen Angus cattle, the Eriskay pony and the Clydesdale horse. Prof Prendergast joins the Board of Trustees which sets RBST policy, agrees strategy and approves major commitments.


Prof Prendergast’s work at the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute focuses on genome evolution and animal disease genetics, particularly in cattle in Africa and working with breed societies in the UK. He will bring his world-leading expertise in pinpointing the DNA changes responsible for production and disease characteristics in livestock to help guide RBST’s growing activity in using genetic information to support a strong future for the UK’s native breeds.

RBST Trustee Prof James Prendergast says: "I am delighted to join the RBST Board of Trustees, the Trust’s work in supporting the UK’s rare livestock and equine breeds is vital, ensuring these breeds’ irreplaceable genetic value is not lost to future food production and the environment. Bioinformatics can play a key role in informing and supporting the work carried out day in and day out by RBST, Breed Societies and RBST members across the UK to give these wonderful rare breeds a thriving future. I look forward to supporting that work on the RBST Board of Trustees.”

RBST Chief Executive Christopher Price says: “We are thrilled to welcome Prof Prendergast to the RBST Board of Trustees, he is a fantastic champion for the application of the latest, pioneering bioinformatics to strengthen the position and prospects of the UK’s rare native breeds. As the technology becomes increasingly sophisticated, genetic and genomic research is becoming ever more important to RBST’s work and Prof Prendergast’s world-leading expertise and guidance will be invaluable.”