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The University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh | College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine |
School of Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences

Centre for Population Health Sciences

Strapline photo
Photo of Jim Wilson

Dr Jim Wilson

Senior Lecturer in Population and Disease Genetics

Tel: (0131) 651 5141
Fax: (0131) 467 8456

Teaching Responsibilities


I organise the genetic epidemiology course on the public health research MSc. I teach in this course and also in the quantitative genetics and genome analysis MSc.

Research Interests

I'm a Royal Society University Research Fellow in the Centre for Population Health Sciences at the University of Edinburgh, where my group studies population history and structure and the genetics of complex disease. I lead the Orkney Complex Disease Study - ORCADES - an isolated population resource with rich phenotyping, deep genotyping, a tissue biobank and prospective follow up. The study has contributed to the discovery of over 500 new gene associations in collaboration with international consortia. I also lead a genetic study of Multiple Sclerosis in Orkney and Shetland and analyses of genetic structure and homozygosity using genome-wide data and genetic history using also the Y chromosome. I first demonstrated genetic evidence for Norse Viking ancestry in the British Isles ten years ago, and later founded the genetic ancestry testing company EthnoAncestry. I've been involved in a number of TV and radio series explaining genetics to the public, including Blood of the Vikings, Blood of the Irish, The Scots: A Genetic Journey and Is it better to be mixed race?, and the group's work regularly features in the print and broadcast media.

Visit my group website for more information:

Selected grants

  • The Edinburgh Heart Disease Prevention Study: Common candidate genotypes and conventional risk factors as predictors of 20-year risk of atherosclerostic vascular disease in Scottish men. (Chief Scientist Office, 2008-2010) Price J, Bolton J, Anderson N, Wilson J
  • Identifying susceptibility loci for osteoporosis by genome wide scan in the UK population isolate of Orkney. (Arthritis Research Council, 2007-2010) Ralston S, Wilson J, Wright A ,Campbell H, Albagha O, Wild S
  • Glaucoma inheritance study of orkney. (Chief Scientist Office, Scottish Executive, 2006-2008) Fleck B, Wright A, Campbell H, Wilson J, Karunaratne V
  • Orkney cardiovascular disease study (ORCADES). (Chief Scientist Office, Scottish Executive, 2006-2008) Wilson J, Campbell H, Wright A, Wild S, Visscher P, Carothers A, Vitart V, Allan P, Webb D, Sudlow C, Hughes A
  • EUROpean Special Populations reseArch Network (EUROSPAN): quantifying and harnessing genetic variation for gene discovery. : MRC Human Genetics Unit, Erasmus University (N), Zagreb University (Cr), National Research Center for Environment and Health Munich (G), Uppsala University (Sw), European Research Academy (It), IntegraGen (Fr). (European Union (FP6), 2006-2009) Campbell H et al
  • y chromosome phylogeography in southeast asia and the pacific. (British Academy, 2005-2006) Richards M, Wilson J (CI University of Leeds)
  • Identification of osteoporosis susceptibility genes by genome wide scan in the scottish population isolate of orkney. (Chief Scientist Office, Scottish Executive, Genetics and Healthcare Initiative. Exemplar Project, 2004-2007) Ralston S, Wilson J, Campbell H, Wild S, Wright A
  • Genetic analysis of cardiovascular disease-related traits in Orkney. (Chief Scientist Office, 2004-2007) Wilson J, Campbell H, Wright A, Wild S, Visscher P, Carothers A et al
  • Genetic analysis of cardiovascular disease-related traits in rural isolates. (Royal Society, 2003-2008) Wilson J

Selected publications

  • Locke AE, Kahali B, Berndt SI, Justice AE, Pers TH, Day FR, et al (inc Fraser RM, McLachlan S, Campbell H, Price JF, Rudan I, Wilson JF). Genetic studies of body mass index yield new insights for obesity biology. Nature 2015;518:197-206 DOI Link
  • Rahmioglu N, Macgregor S, Drong AW, Hedman AK, Harris HR, Randall JC, et al (inc Campbell H, Wilson JF, Rudan I, Fowkes G, Fraser RM, Price JF). Genome-wide enrichment analysis between endometriosis and obesity-related traits reveals novel susceptibility loci. Human Molecular Genetics 2014; published online 8 October DOI Link
  • Wood AR, Esko T, Yang J, Vedantam S, Pers TH, Gustafsson S et al (inc Fraser RM, McLachlan S, Campbell H, Price JF, Rudan I, Wilson JF). Defining the role of common variation in the genomic and biological architecture of adult human height. Nature Genetics 2014; published online 5 October DOI Link
  • Bolton JL, Hayward C, Direk N, Lewis JG, Hammond GL, Hill LA, et al (inc Wilson JF, Campbell H, Rudan I, Wild SH, Price JF). Genome Wide Association Identifies Common Variants at the SERPINA6/SERPINA1 Locus Influencing Plasma Cortisol and Corticosteroid Binding Globulin. PLoS Genet 2014;10(7):e1004474 DOI Link
  • Vimaleswaran KS, Cavadino A, Berry DJ, Jorde R, Dieffenbach AK, Lu C, et al (inc Zgaga L, Fraser RM, McLachlan S, Theodoratou E, Wilson JF, Rudan I, Campbell H, Price JF). Association of vitamin D status with arterial blood pressure and hypertension risk: a mendelian randomisation study. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol 2014; published online 25 June DOI Link
  • Genetic Investigation of Anthropometric Traits (GIANT) Consortium (inc J Bolton, H Campbell, G Fowkes, RM Fraser, J Price, I Rudan, SH Wild, JF Wilson). Quality control and conduct of genome-wide association meta-analyses. Nature Protocols 2014;9(5):1192-212 DOI Link
  • DIAbetes Genetics Replication And Meta-analysis (DIAGRAM) Consortium (inc H Campbell, RM Fraser, JF Price, I Rudan, JF Wilson). Genome-wide trans-ancestry meta-analysis provides insight into the genetic architecture of type 2 diabetes susceptibility. Nature Genetics 2014; 46(3):234-244 DOI Link
  • Do R, Willer CJ, Schmidt EM, Sengupta S, Gao C, Peloso GM, et al (inc Fraser RM, Bolton JL, Rudan I, Wild SH, Wilson JF, Campbell H, Price JF). Common variants associated with plasma triglycerides and risk for coronary artery disease. Nat Genet 2013; published online 6 October DOI Link
  • Global Lipids Genetics Consortium (inc RM Fraser, JL Bolton, I Rudan, SH Wild, JF Wilson, H Campbell, JF Price). Discovery and refinement of loci associated with lipid levels. Nat Genet 2013; published online 6 October DOI Link
  • Randall JC, Winkler TW, Kutalik Z, Berndt SI, Jackson AU, Monda KL, et al (inc Wilson JF, Rudan I, Bolton JL, Fowkes G, Fraser RM, Price JF). Sex-stratified genome-wide association studies including 270,000 individuals show sexual dimorphism in genetic loci for anthropometric traits. PLoS Genet. 2013;9(6):e1003500 DOI Link
  • Bolton JL, Stewart MCW, Wilson JF, Anderson N, Price JF. Improvement in Prediction of Coronary Heart Disease Risk over Conventional Risk Factors Using SNPs Identified in Genome-Wide Association Studies. PLoS ONE 2013; 8(2): e57310 DOI Link
  • The Meta-Analyses of Glucose and Insulin-related traits Consortium (MAGIC) (inc RM Fraser, JL Bolton, GR Fowkes, SH Wild, I Rudan, H Campbell, JF Wilson, JF Price). Large-scale association analyses identify new loci influencing glycemic traits and provide insight into the underlying biological pathways. Nature Genetics 2012; published online 12 August DOI Link
  • The DIAbetes Genetics Replication And Meta-analysis (DIAGRAM) Consortium (inc RM Fraser, H Campbell, JF Price, JF Wilson). Large-scale association analysis provides insights into the genetic architecture and pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes. Nature Genetics 2012; published online 12 August DOI Link
  • Dupuis J et al. New genetic loci implicated in fasting glucose homeostasis and their impact on type 2 diabetes risk. Nat Genet 2009: in press.
  • Hicks AA, Pramstaller PP, Johansson A, Vitart V, Rudan I, Ugocsai P, Aulchenko Y, Franklin CS, Liebisch G, Jonasson I, Pattaro C, Hayward C, Isaacs A, Huffman J, Gnewuch C, Marroni F, Polasek O, Demirkan A, Kolcic I, Schweinbacher C, Igl W, Biloglav Z, Witteman JCM, Pichler I, Zaboli G, Hastie N, Oostra BA, Wild SH, Meitinger T, Gyllensten U, van Duijn CM, Wilson JF, Wright AF, Schmitz G, Campbell H. Genetic determinants of circulating sphingolipid concentrations PLoSGenetics 2009: in press DOI Link
  • Pattaro C, Aulchenko YS, Isaacs A, Vitart V, Hayward C, Franklin CS, Polasek O, Kolcic I, Biloglav Z, Campbell S, Hastie N, Lauc G, Meitinger T, Oostra BA, Gyllensten U, Wilson JF, Pichler I, Hicks AA, Campbell H, Wright AF, Rudan I, van Duijn CM, Riegler P, Marroni F, Pramstaller PP. Genome-wide linkage analysis of serum creatinine in three isolated European populations. Kidney Int. 2009 Apr 22. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Mascalzoni D, Janssens ACJW, Stewart A, Pramstaller P, Gyllensten U, Rudan I, van Duijn CM, Wilson JF, Campbell H, McQuillan R. Comparison of patient information and informed consent forms of five European family-based studies in genetic isolated populations Eur J Human Genet 2009: in press
  • Aulchenko YS, Ripatti S, Lindqvist I, Boomsma D, Heid IM, Pramstaller PP, Penninx BW, Janssens AC, Wilson JF, Spector T, Martin NG, Pedersen NL, Kyvik KO, Kaprio J, Hofman A, Freimer NB, Jarvelin MR, Gyllensten U, Campbell H, Rudan I, Johansson A, Marroni F, Hayward C, Vitart V, Jonasson I, Pattaro C, Wright A, Hastie N, Pichler I, Hicks AA, Falchi M, Willemsen G, Hottenga JJ, de Geus EJ, Montgomery GW, Whitfield J, Magnusson P, Saharinen J, Perola M, Silander K, Isaacs A, Sijbrands EJ, Uitterlinden AG, Witteman JC, Oostra BA, Elliott P, Ruokonen A, Sabatti C, Gieger C, Meitinger T, Kronenberg F, Döring A, Wichmann HE, Smit JH, McCarthy MI, van Duijn CM, Peltonen L; for the ENGAGE Consortium. Loci influencing lipid levels and coronary heart disease risk in 16 European population cohorts. Nat Genet. 2008; 41: 47 - 55.
  • McQuillan R, Leutenegger AL, Abdel-Rahman R, Pericic M, Barac-Lauc L, Smolej-Narancic N, Janicijevic B, Franklin CS, Polasek O, Tenesa A, Farrington SM, MacLeod AK, Rudan P, Hayward C, Vitart V, Rudan I, Wild SH, Dunlop MG, Wright AF, Campbell H, Wilson JF. Runs of homozygosity in European populations. Amer J Hum Genet 2008: 83: 359 - 72.
  • Johansson Å, Marroni F, Hayward C, Franklin CS, Kirichenko AV, Jonasson I, Hicks AA, Vitart V, Isaacs A, Axenovich T, Campbell S, Dunlop MG, Floyd J, Hastie N, Knott S, Kolcic I, Pichler I, Polasek O, Tenesa A, Wild SH, Zorkoltseva IV, Meitinger T, Wilson JF, Rudan I, Campbell H, Pattaro C, Pramstaller P, Oostra BA, Wright AF, van Duijn CM, Aulchenko YS, Gyllensten U on behalf of the EUROSPAN Consortium Common variants of the JAZF1 gene associated with height identified by linkage and whole genome association analysis. Human Mol Genet 2008: 18: 373 -80.
  • Soranzo N, Bufe B, Sabeti PC, Wilson JF, Weale ME, Marguerie R, Meyerhof W & Goldstein DB (2005) Positive selection on a high-sensitivity allele of the human bitter-taste receptor TAS2R16, Curr Biol. 15:1257-1265.
  • Richards M, Rengo C, Cruciani F, Gratrix F, Wilson JF, Scozzari R, Macaulay V & Torroni A (2003) Extensive female-mediated gene flow from sub-Saharan Africa into Near Eastern Arab populations, Am. J. Hum. Genet. 72: 1058-1064.
  • Weale ME, Shah T, Jones A, Greenhalgh J, Wilson JF, Namadawa P, Zeitlin D, Connell B, Bradman N & Thomas MG (2003) Rare deep-rooting Y chromosome lineages in humans: lessons for phylogeography. Genetics 165: 229-234.
  • Capelli C, Redhead N, Gratrix F, Abernethy J, Wilson JF, Moen T, Hervig T, Richards M, Stumpf MPH, Underhill PA, Shaha A, Thomas MG, Bradman N & Goldstein DB (2003) A Y chromosome census of the British Isles, Curr. Biol. 13: 979-984.
  • Thomas MG, Weale ME, Jones AL, Richards M, Smith A, Redhead N, Torroni A, Scozzari R, Gratrix F, Tarekegn A, Wilson JF, Capelli C, Bradman N, Goldstein DB (2002) Founding mothers of Jewish communities: geographically separated Jewish groups were independently founded by very few female ancestors, Am. J. Hum. Genet. 70: 1411-20.
  • JF, Weale ME, Smith AC, Gratrix F, Fletcher B, Thomas MG, Bradman N & Goldstein DB (2001) Population genetic structure of variable drug response, Nature Genet. 29: 265-269.
  • Capelli C, Wilson JF, Richards M, Stumpf MPH, Gratrix F, Oppenheimer S, Underhill P, Pascali VL, Ko T-M & Goldstein DB (2001) A predominantly indigenous paternal heritage for the Austronesian-speaking peoples of insular South East Asia and Oceania, Am. J. Hum. Genet. 68: 432-443.
  • Wilson JF, Weiss DA, Richards, M, Thomas MG, Bradman N & Goldstein DB (2001) Genetic evidence for different male and female roles during cultural change in the British Isles, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci USA 89: 5078-5083.
  • Wilson JF & Goldstein DB (2000) Consistent long-range linkage disequilibrium generated by admixture in a Bantu-Semitic hybrid population, Am. J. Hum. Genet. 67: 926-935.
  • Thomas MG, Parfitt T, Weiss DA, Skorecki K, Wilson JF, le Roux M, Bradman N & Goldstein DB (2000) Y-chromosomes travelling South: The Cohen Modal Haplotype and the Origins of the Lemba - The "Black Jews of Southern Africa", Am. J. Hum. Genet. 66: 674-686.
  • Erlandsson R, Wilson JF & P
  • Wilson JF & Erlandsson R (1998) Sexing of human and other primate DNA, Biol. Chem. 379: 1287-1288.

Last modified: Wednesday, 18-Feb-2015 09:18:38 BST

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