Peter Karlskov-Mortensen

Peter Karlskov-Mortensen

Associate Professor

Primary fields of research

  • Animal genetics and genomics
  • Genetic mapping of disease causing mutations
  • Development of genetic tests for animal breeding and diagnostics
  • Characterization of genetic mechanisms behind complex phenotypes
  • Characterization of complex genetic mechanisms in the symbiosis between host organism and gut microbiota

Current research

Genetic mapping of disease causing mutations in dog breeds

Many dog breeds suffer from the same diseases as humans do. Examples are cardiovascular disorders, disc herniation and epilepsy. At the same time they live in the same environment as we do. Hence, it makes good sense to study these diseases in dogs in stead of in laboratory mice which is less similar to human and live in a different mileu. Additionally, the many years of systematic breeding in dogs has created populations of dogs that have special advantages for genetic mapping of the mutations that cause different diseases. The new knowledge we can generate via our studies in dogs will benefit the dogs but at the same time it will be a tool to further a genetic and mechanistic understanding of the pathogenesis underlying the same diseases in our own species.

The pig microbiota and the symbiosis between host and bacteria

Our research group has recently been involved in sequencing of the porcine genome. In this way we have generated a new tool to investigate the influence of genes on health and disease in the pig. But the pig (and we) are not alone in this world. In the gut of the pig live billions of bacteria - the gut microbiota. In total, the gene content of the bacteria is more than hundred times the gene content in the pigs own genome and many of the bacterial genes are crucial for the pigs health and well-being. By investigating the microbiota DNA (the microbiome) and the interactions between host and bacteria we will generate new knowledge that can benefit pig health and pig production.

The pig as model of obesity

Obesity and obesity associated diseases is one of the greatest threats to public health in the world today. Our research group has over the last couple of years created a great resource population of lean and obese pigs which gives us unique opportunities to map genes with effect on adipose tissue accumulation. A huge sample material has been collected and is stored in our tissue biobank. This resource gives us numerous outstanding opportunities to generate new knowledge about the mechanisms that leads to obesity and the following effects on health.


Possible conflicts of interest

We collaborate with everyone who has an interest in heritable traits, health and wellbeing among our domesticated animal species. Our collaborators include Danish and international universities. Additionally, we collaborate with breeding clubs and professional breeding companies, which provide datasets and sample material essential for our research. Peter Karlskov-Mortensen does not represent the clubs or companies in any way, nor does he receive any remuneration from them.

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