John McEwan has been the pivotal intellectual and technical driving force behind the introduction of modern quantitative and molecular genetics to the New Zealand sheep industry. He has taken every new genetics advance that has become available over the last 25 years, developed them for sheep, then applied them to great effect for the benefit of sheep breeders.
John McEwan was a leading force for establishing the industry’s quantitative genetics tools (Sheep Improvement Limited – genetic engine) and seeing them applied across the industry (via the Central Progeny Test and SIL ACE).
He has also established with other researchers protocols for accurately measuring parasite resistance (WormFEC) and carcass traits (Innervision – CT imaging).
Separately he has been involved in the development of five DNA tests currently used by breeders and is now capturing the benefits of the completed sheep DNA sequence to further increase the rate of improvement of the national flock via whole genome selection.