Our Projects

Dr Gill Murray-Dickson

Biobank Research Fellow

Research interests

Gill is interested in the development and application of genetic and genomic tools to inform conservation management and illegal wildlife trade issues. She has previously examined population and phylogeographic structure for the heavily traded reticulated python, and a UK native, the palmate newt. She has used genetic data to inform estimates of capercaillie population size in Scotland, identify hybrid peacock pheasant individuals, identify markers for hybrid detection among Siamese crocodiles, and assess populations of endangered invertebrates with the view to informing population re-introduction and/or augmentation. She has used next generation sequence data to isolate informative DNA markers for species of tortoise, ibis and partridge and her current research focuses on the development of DNA-based tools to analyse animal diet using DNA metabarcoding, the application of environmental DNA (eDNA) methods to aid conservation management, and development of informative and transferable DNA-based assays for species and population assignation. Gill is based in the RZSS WildGenes Lab (Edinburgh Zoo) where a team of five scientists develop and apply genetic techniques to inform the management of captive and wild populations. Working alongside government agencies, conservation charities, zoos and academics, the RZSS WildGenes Lab delivers data, advice, training and capacity across the world. She is regularly involved with UK-based science communication events, presenting the work of the RZSS WildGenes laboratory. She particularly enjoys developing learning resources that can be used to communicate the use of DNA technologies in wildlife conservation to a wide range of audiences.


PhD (University of Aberdeen, UK) Biological Sciences
Undergraduate (University of Aberdeen, UK) Zoology
Undergraduate (Liverpool John Moores University, UK) Pharmacy


Phylogeography of the reticulated python (Malayopython reticulatus ssp.): conservation implications for the worlds’ most traded snake species. Murray-Dickson G, Ghazali M, Ogden R, Auliya M. (2017) PlosONE, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0182049

Fletcher, K., Baines, D. & Murray-Dickson, G.  2017.  Can genetic techniques help estimate capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) population size and survival rates - a pilot study to develop survey methods. Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No. 910

Murray-Dickson G, Ogden R (2014) Development of breed specific assays for beef and pork authentication. Defra Commissioned Report, FA0125.

Murray-Dickson G, Ogden R (2014) Geographic traceability tools for commercial fish and fish products. Defra Commissioned Report, FA0125.

Murray-Dickson G, Piertney S B, Thompson P M. (In revision) Spatial distribution of microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA variation among resident populations of bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus around UK and Ireland. Endangered Species Research.

Murray-Dickson G, Berrow S, Reid R J, Thompson P M, Piertney S B. (2011) Assessment of population structure using molecular analyses of tissue from strandings. In Thompson P M, Cheney B, Ingram S, Stevick P, Wilson B, Hammond P S (Eds). Distribution, abundance and population structure of bottlenose dolphins in Scottish waters. Scottish Government and Scottish Natural Heritage funded report. Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No. 354.

Cronin M T D, Dearden J C, Moss G P, Murray-Dickson G (1999) Investigation of the mechanism of flux across human skin in vitro by quantitative structure-permeability relationships. European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 7, 325-330.

Duffy J C, Cronin M T D, Dearden J C, Moss G P, Murray-Dickson G (1999) Prediction of blood-brain barrier partitioning using QSAR analysis. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 51 (suppl.), 260y