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Professor Patrick Cunningham
Professor of Animal Genetics, Genetics

1. Biographical Details

Former Chief Scientific Adviser to the Irish Government

Professor Cunningham is a geneticist and international public servant who was Chief Scientific Adviser to the Irish government from 2007 - 2012. He has held a personal chair of animal genetics at Trinity College since 1974 and various posts in the Irish National Agricultural Institute, where he was deputy Director (Research) from 1980 - 1988.

In 1988 he moved to the World Bank as professor in the Economic Development Institute, and in 1990 he was appointed Director of Animal Production and Health at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome (1990 - 1993). During this period he was also Director of SECNA (Screwworm Eradication Campaign for North Africa). He was elected President of the European (1980 - 1984) and World (1984 - 1988) Associations of Animal Production.

His research has focused on quantitative genetic theory, the efficiency of livestock improvement programmes, the genetics of cattle, horses and salmon, and the use of molecular methods in studies on domestic animal evolution. This included the use of new methods of reading DNA to measure genetic diversity and plan livestock improvement in developing countries. This work demonstrated for the first time the separate domestication of cattle in India on the one hand and in Africa and Europe on the other.

He has published over 100 scientific papers, which have twice featured on the cover of Nature. Following the BSE crisis in 1996, he led a team that developed a system of DNA traceability for the meat industry, which is now used successfully by their company IdentiGEN in Europe and North America.

He has been elected a member of the Royal Irish Academy (1974) and several international academies of science. In 1996 he received the Royal Dublin Society's prestigious Boyle Medal, and he holds honorary doctorates from TCD, UCD and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. In 2014 he was appointed chairman of the international panel to review the direct actions of the JRC under FP7(2007-2013).

Patrick graduated from University College Dublin (UCD) with degrees in agricultural science and animal nutrition, before completing his doctorate in animal genetics at Cornell University, USA.

2. Science Policy Papers


Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Gomez-Miguelez, I., Garcia-Saavedra, A., Sutton, P.D., (...), Cano, C., Leith, D.J., srsLTE: An open-source platform for LTE evolution and experimentation, Proceedings of the Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking, MOBICOM, Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking, MOBICOM, 03-07-October-2016, 2016, 25-32 Conference Paper, 2016 DOI

Cunningham, P., Policy: Set research priorities in a time of recession., Nature, 502, (7472), 2013, p433-434 Journal Article, 2013

Cunningham, P., Ireland: Research is the seed of future prosperity, Nature , 487, (7406), 2012, p171 Journal Article, 2012

Cunningham, P., European union: Measuring success, Issues in Science and Technology, 26, (3), 2010, p75-80 Journal Article, 2010 URL

Cunningham EP, Tauebert H, Measuring the effect of change in selection indices., Journal of dairy science, 92, (12), 2009, p6192-6 Journal Article, 2009

Cunningham, P., Using DNA traceability to track meat and ensure safety, Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News, 289, (8), 2008, p0-0 Journal Article, 2008

Patrick Cunningham, Nach BSE - die Kosten, die Lehren, die Optionen, Nova Acta Leopoldina NF, 94, (947), 2006, p31 - 40 Journal Article, 2006

Norris AT and Cunningham EP, Estimates of phenotypic and genetic parameters for flesh colour traits in farmed Atlantic salmon based on a multiple trait animal model, Livestock Production Science, 89, 2004, p209 - 222 Journal Article, 2004

E.P. Cunningham, After BSE - A future for the European livestock sector, European Association for Animal Production, Scientific series, 108, 2003 Journal Article, 2003

After the BSE Crisis - Lessons for the Livestock Industry in, editor(s)Rosati A, Tewolde A, Mosconi C , WAAP Book of the Year, 2003, pp211 - 219, [Cunningham, EP] Book Chapter, 2003

Hill E.W., Bradley D.G., El-Barody M.A., Ertugrul O., Splan R.K., Zakharov I. & Cunningham E.P., History and integrity of thoroughbred dam lines revealed in equine mtDNA variation, Animal Genetics, 33, 2002, p287 - 294 Journal Article, 2002

Hill EW, Bradley DG, Al-Barody M, Ertugrul O, Splan RK, Zakharov I, Cunningham EP, History and integrity of thoroughbred dam lines revealed in equine mtDNA variation., Animal genetics, 33, (4), 2002, p287-94 Journal Article, 2002

Cunningham EP and Meghen C, Biological identification systems: genetic markers, Rev. Sci. Tech. Off. Int. Epiz., 20, 2001, p491 - 499 Journal Article, 2001

CS Troy, MacHugh DE, Bailey JF, Magee DA, Loftus RT, Cunningham EP, Chamberlain AT, Sykes BC & Bradley DG, Genetic evidence for Near Eastern origins of European cattle, Nature, 410, 2001, p1088 - 1091 Journal Article, 2001

Cunningham EP, Dooley JJ,. Splan RK and Bradley DG, Microsatellite diversity, pedigree relatedness and the contributions of founder lineages to thoroughbred horses, Animal Genetics, 32, 2001, p360 - 364 Journal Article, 2001

Troy CS, MacHugh DE, Bailey JF, Magee DA, Loftus RT, Cunningham P, Chamberlain AT, Sykes BC, Bradley DG, Genetic evidence for Near-Eastern origins of European cattle., Nature, 410, (6832), 2001, p1088-91 Journal Article, 2001

Cunningham EP, Meghen CM, Biological identification systems: genetic markers., Revue scientifique et technique (International Office of Epizootics), 20, (2), 2001, p491-9 Journal Article, 2001

MacHugh DE, Loftus RT, Cunningham P, Bradley DG, Genetic structure of seven European cattle breeds assessed using 20 microsatellite markers., Animal genetics, 29, (5), 1998, p333-40 Journal Article, 1998

MacHugh DE, Shriver MD, Loftus RT, Cunningham P, Bradley DG, Microsatellite DNA variation and the evolution, domestication and phylogeography of taurine and zebu cattle (Bos taurus and Bos indicus)., Genetics, 146, (3), 1997, p1071-86 Journal Article, 1997

Bradley DG, MacHugh DE, Cunningham P, Loftus RT, Mitochondrial diversity and the origins of African and European cattle., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 93, (10), 1996, p5131-5 Journal Article, 1996

Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications

Public understanding and perception of biotechnology in the EU - myth and reality in, editor(s)Tuberosa R, Phillips RL and Gale M , In the Wake of the Double Helix - from the Green Revolution to the Gene Revolution, Bologna, Avenue Media, 2005, [Cunningham EP] Book Chapter, 2005

Molecular Methods and Equine Genetic Diversity in, editor(s)Bodo, I, Alderson, L, Bertrand, B , Conservation Genetics of Endangered Horse Breeds, EAAP, 2005, [Cunningham EP] Book Chapter, 2005

Cunningham EP, Gene based technologies for the livestock industries in the third millennium, Applications of Gene-based Technologies for Improving Animal Production and Health in Developing Countries, edited by Makkar HPS and Viljoen GJ , IAEA, 2005, pp41 - 51 Conference Paper, 2005

Cunningham EP, Genetic Mismanagement - Fact or Fiction?, Proc. Int. Conference of Racing Analysts and Veterinarians, Dubai, edited by Albert PH, Morton T and Wade JF , 2004, pp59 - 59 Conference Paper, 2004

Cunningham EP, A Rastreabilidade da Producao ao Consumidor usando Tecnicas de DNA, Proc 1r Congresso Brasiliero de Ciencia e Tecnologia de Carnes, Sao Pedro/SP - CTC/ITAL, 2003, pp328 - 335 Conference Paper, 2003