Integrating “omics” technologies and machine-learning approaches to dissect the genomic architecture and underlying molecular mechanisms of susceptibility to lameness caused by claw horn disruption lesions (CHDL)

Dirk Werling (primary)
Pathobiology and PopulationSciences
Royal Veterinary College
Androniki Psifidi (secondary)
Clinical Science and Services
Royal Veterinary College


Lameness is a debilitating and painful condition, compromising considerably animal and human welfare. In dairy-cattle, lameness affects one third of animals with the main cause being the claw horn disruption lesions (CHDL). Our initial genetic studies showed that the disease is heritable. Further “-omics” studies could provide new insights to mechanisms driving disease perturbation and facilitate disease control through breeding-programmes, novel DNA-tests and novel drug- and vaccine-target discovery. We will integrate genomics/transcriptomics/proteomics/epigenetics and applied cutting edge machine-learning and systems-biology approaches to investigate the genetic architecture and the underlying molecular mechanisms of CHDL in order to develop new tools to control the disease.


Huxley J.N. 2013. “Impact of lameness and claw lesions in cows on health and production”
Liv. Science. 156: 64–70
Murray R, Downham D.Y., et al. 1996. Epidemiology of lameness in dairy cattle: description and analysis of foot lesions” Veterinary Record 138: 586-591.
Oikonomou G, Banos G., et al. 2014. “Genetic Characterization of Digital Cushion Thickness” J. Dairy Science 97: 532 -536.
Karczewski K.J., Snyder M.P. 2018. “Integrative omics for health and disease.” Nat Rev Genet. 2018 May;19(5):299-310. doi: 10.1038/nrg.2018.4. PMID: 29479082
Zhou Y., Zhou B., et al. 2019. “Metascape Provides a Biologist-Oriented Resource for the Analysis of Systems-Level Datasets” Nat Commun. 2019 Apr 3;10(1):1523. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-09234-6.

Animal disease, health and welfare
Area of Biology
Techniques & Approaches
BioinformaticsGeneticsMathematics / StatisticsMolecular Biology