The Roslin Institute
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The Roslin Institute
Roslin Institute.JPG
DirectorProfessor Eleanor Riley
EH25 9RG
CampusEaster Bush
AffiliationsUniversity of Edinburgh, BBSRC
MascotDolly the Sheep
The Roslin Institute logo.gif

The Roslin Institute is an animal sciences research institute at Easter Bush, Midlothian, Scotland, part of the University of Edinburgh, and is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.[1] In September 2017, Professor Eleanor Riley became the Director of the Roslin Institute and Dean of Research at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies of the University of Edinburgh.[2] to replace Professor David Hume.


The Roslin Institute was established in 1993 as a wholly owned but an independent institute of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. However, it traces its origins to the Institute of Animal Genetics (IAG) which was founded at the University of Edinburgh in 1919. In 1947 the IAG's expertise was used to form two new research organisations, the Poultry Research Centre (PRC) and the Animal Breeding Research Organisation (ABRO). The PRC was located near the village of Roslin, Midlothian known for the world-famous Rosslyn Chapel of the Sinclair family.

Later changes in the 1980s saw genetic research in different species gradually consolidated on the one site at Roslin. The Roslin Institute commenced in 1993. In 2011 the Institute moved away from Roslin to a new site at the Easter Bush campus of the University, but despite this, retained its now world-famous name.


The Institute won international fame in 1996, when Ian Wilmut, Keith Campbell and their colleagues created Dolly the sheep, the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell, at the institute.[3][4][5] A year later Polly and Molly were cloned, both sheep contained a human gene.

Roslin has made many other contributions to animal sciences, especially in the area of livestock improvement and welfare through applications of Quantitative Genetics. In 2007 a Roslin team developed genetically modified chickens capable of laying eggs containing proteins needed to make cancer-fighting drugs.

Aims and objectives

The Roslin Institute aims to enhance the lives of animals and humans through world class research in animal biology. The principal objectives are to:

  • Enhance animal health and welfare through knowledge of genetic factors affecting resistance to disease.
  • Enhance sustainability and productivity of livestock systems and food supply chains through understanding of reproductive and developmental biology.
  • Enhance food safety by understanding interactions between disease causing organisms and animals.
  • Enhance human health through an understanding of basic mechanisms of health and disease and comparative biology of animal species.
  • Identify new and emerging zoonoses and understand how pathogens might cross from animals to humans.
  • Enhance quality of life for animals by studying the mechanisms and behaviours associated with optimising their environment and life experiences.


The Roslin Institute are categorized by four Scientific Divisions.:[6]

  • Developmental biology
  • Genetics and genomics
  • Infection and immunity
  • Clinical sciences

New building

In April 2007, The Roslin Institute was joined by the Neuropathogenesis Unit of the Institute for Animal Health, well known for its role in deciphering the biology of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (mad cow disease, scrapie, CJD). In 2008, the Institute was incorporated with the Royal School of Veterinary Studies within the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine of The University of Edinburgh. There are currently more than 500 staff and students.

In March 2011, The Roslin Institute moved from its previous home in Roslin, a village in Midlothian, to a £60.6M building on the University of Edinburgh's Veterinary Campus at Easter Bush, across the road from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies' new teaching building.[7] The new building was designed by global architecture firm, HDR, Inc.

The Roslin Institute and Vet School are part of a formal consortium, the Easter Bush Research Consortium,[8] with the Moredun Research Institute and the Scottish Agricultural College.


  1. ^ "The Roslin Institute (University of Edinburgh) - Home Page". Retrieved 2011.
  2. ^ "Eleanor Riley to be new Director of the Roslin Institute | Edinburgh Infectious Diseases". Retrieved 2017.
  3. ^ Campbell, K. H. S.; McWhir, J.; Ritchie, W. A.; Wilmut, I. (1996). "Sheep cloned by nuclear transfer from a cultured cell line". Nature. 380 (6569): 64-66. doi:10.1038/380064a0. PMID 8598906.
  4. ^ Firn, D. (1999). "Roslin Institute upset by human cloning suggestions". Nature Medicine. 5 (3): 253. doi:10.1038/6449. PMID 10086368.
  5. ^ Jayaraman, K. S. (1998). "India's short cow drags Roslin Institute into controversy". Nature. 394 (6696): 821. doi:10.1038/29621. PMID 9732859.
  6. ^ "Research at Roslin Institute".
  7. ^ "New home for Roslin Institute". Veterinary Record. 169 (2): 34-34. 2011. doi:10.1136/vr.d4061.
  8. ^

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