The Sheep Trust is directed by a Board of Trustees of internationally recognised senior scientists and vets with expertise of direct relevance to issues of UK sheep breeding, conservation and sustainability. Professor Dianna Bowles first established the Heritage GeneBank during the FMD crisis of 2001. She is an Emeritus Professor of Biology at the University of York and Chairs the Board of Trustees.
Short curriculum vitae are accessible through the links to the Trustees.
The Trust has been set up as a registered charitable company limited by guarantee, registration number 4284999. The Charity Number 1094514. The registered address is Duncan Rotherham, Rookes Cottage, Cherry Tree Avenue, Newton-on-Ouse, York YO30 2BN. The Sheep Trust web site continues to be hosted by the University of York, where the charity was originally established.
Emergency work in 2001 to establish gene banks of endangered sheep breeds at threat of extinction from FMD was first sponsored by The Garfield Weston Foundation. Their immediate support in response to a plea for help, enabling veterinary specialists to go into the field within a week for the essential germplasm collections, led to offers of matching support from the UK Government: (MAFF) DEFRA and The Countryside Agency, together with The Gatsby Charitable Foundation. Additional support from The Garfield Weston Foundation, The Countryside Agency, The Drapers' Company, The European Commission, The Royal Society and the Leverhulme Trust has enabled The Sheep Trust to continue science-led projects ever since.
Current projects are focussed on ‘local adaptation’ of these geographically concentrated breeds, using genomics to identify selective pressures resulting in the abilities of the breeds to thrive in their local habitats and regional environments.