Tricia to undertook an Applied Science Degree majoring in Animal Science at Massey University, followed by a PhD in Animal Science at Massey University completed in 2004. Her PhD thesis, A directed search for QTL affecting carcass composition traits in Texel sheep, involved collaborative work with AgResearch Invermay. The results of this PhD have been commercialised as the MyoMAX genetic marker test which is currently being used by New Zealand sheep breeders to improve carcass lean meat yield.
Following her PhD, Tricia was employed as a lecturer in Applied Animal Genetics by Massey University, during which time she also undertook a sabbatical at Virginia Tech to work with Professor Dave Notter on the genetics of out of season breeding in sheep. In 2006 she joined AgResearch.
The main focus of Tricia’s current research is the discovery of genetic markers for meat yield and meat quality in sheep and where possible the underlying causative mutation. Historically her discovery work has used microsatellite markers but is currently moving towards using SNP technology as the discovery tool. She is also involved with genetic markers discovery projects for other traits such as horns and natural wool shedding.
An important part of Tricia’s role in this research is encouraging active involvement of the New Zealand sheep industry, from meat processors, to commercial farmers through to breeders so that the research is relevant to, and has uptake in the sheep industry.
Tricia regularly presents the findings of her research to farmer audiences throughout New Zealand as well as at national and international science conferences. Being married to a sheep and beef farmer in North Otago, Tricia is able to gain invaluable insight to the farming industry first hand – being an all-important factor to her industry-relevant research.
Johnson, P.L., Dodds, K.G., Bain, W.E., Greer, G.J., McLean, N.J., McLaren, R.J., Galloway, S.M., van Stijn, T.C. and McEwan, J.C. (2009). Investigations into the GDF8 g+6723g-a polymorphism in New Zealand Texel sheep. Journal of Animal Science, 87, 1856-1864.
Johnson, P.L., McEwan, J.C., Dodds, K.G., Purchas, R.W. and Blair, H.T. (2005). A directed search in the region of GDF8 for quantitative trait loci affecting carcass traits in Texel sheep. Journal of Animal Science, 83(9), 1988-2000.
Johnson, P.L., McEwan, J.C., Dodds, K.G., Purchas, R.W. and Blair, H.T. (2005). Meat quality traits were unaffected by a QTL in the region of GDF8 affecting leg composition traits in Texel sheep. Journal of Animal Science, 83(12), 2729-35.
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