Photo of Per Jensen

Per Jensen


I am professor of ethology - animal behaviour - and my interests are animal welfare, genetics and epigenetics. In addition to my research, I teach ethology and animal welfare on bachelor and master level within the biology program.


My research is focused on domestication and animal welfare. I work mainly with chickens and dogs and study the genetic and epigenetic aspects of their behaviour. More information can be found on the web-page of my research group, which you reach through the link further down on the page (Animal behaviour, domestication and welfare).

Animals in focus

Professor Per Jensen med nyckläckta kycklingarAfter many years of research on the natural behaviour of pigs and its relevance for their welfare, I shifted focus in the 90ies and started working on domestication and behaviour genetics. The chicken - the most numerous domestic animal in the world - became my new study object. Later, I also started working with dogs, the species that more than any other has evolved for a life with humans. Together with PhD-students and other colleagues, I study the genetic and epigenetic foundations of the changes that the behaviour has undergone during thousands of years of coexistence with people. 

Unique possibilities

My research group has a amazing basis with respect to animals and facilities. Our hatchery and chicken unit provides us with full control over all aspects of the scientific process, from breeding and hatching, via rearing, to our labs that are fully equipped for advanced behaviour studies and documentation. On top of that we have a well designed physiology lab allowing different types of measurements and surgery. All this is combined with a world class molecular lab.

We are also one of the few labs in the world that keep a breeding population of red junglefowl, the wild ancestor of the chicken. That gives us possibilities to breed different crosses and to conduct direct comparative genetic studies on the ancestor and its domesticated descendants. And we have a broad collaboration with hundreds of private dog owners across the country, who let us study their pets and happily offer us a small amount of DNA from their companions.


Research Collaborations

Together with Professor Linda Keeling at SLU, I currently coordinate the Center of Excellence in Animal Welfare Science, a nationwide research network. My research group, is part of Linköping University's System Neurobiology Network and we have a number of ongoing collaborations with researchers at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. This has generated emerging projects towards human applications and given us unique inroads towards translational research.

Sample collaborations

  • Professor Linda Keeling, SLU – animal welfare science.
  • Professor Leif Andersson, Uppsala University – genetics and genomics.
  • Professor Jonas Bergquist, Uppsala University – hormone measurements.
  • Professor Elena Jazin, Uppsala University – behaviour epigenetics.
  • Professor Markus Heilig, Linköping University - stress and neurobiology.


Recent publications - full list available through the link below to "Institutional repository"


Vitor Hugo Bessa Ferreira, Jeanne Seressia, Nathalie Meme, Jeremy Bernard, Marie-Helene Pinard-van der Laan, Fanny Calenge, Alexandre Lecoeur, Louise Hedlund, Per Jensen, Vanessa Guesdon, Ludovic Calandreau (2024) Early and late cognitive and behavioral aspects associated with range use in free-range laying hens (Gallus gallus domesticus) Poultry Science, Vol. 103, Article 103813 Continue to DOI
Enya van Poucke, Perrine Mitschler, Per Jensen (2024) Play stimulation as a possible means to buffer early stress from commercial hatchery treatment in laying hen chicks Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Vol. 274, Article 106264 Continue to DOI
Andrey Hoglund, Rie Henriksen, Allison M. Churcher, Carlos M. Guerrero-Bosagna, Alvaro Martinez-Barrio, Martin Johnsson, Per Jensen, Dominic Wright (2024) The regulation of methylation on the Z chromosome and the identification of multiple novel Male Hyper-Methylated regions in the chicken PLOS Genetics, Vol. 20, Article e1010719 Continue to DOI


Vitor Hugo Bessa Ferreira, Lea Lansade, Ludovic Calandreau, Felipe Barros Da Cunha, Per Jensen (2023) Are domesticated animals dumber than their wild relatives? A comprehensive review on the domestication effects on animal cognitive performance Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, Vol. 154, Article 105407 Continue to DOI
John Lees, Fabio Pertille, Pia Lötvedt, Per Jensen, Carlos Guerrero Bosagna (2023) The mitoepigenome responds to stress, suggesting novel mito-nuclear interactions in vertebrates BMC Genomics, Vol. 24, Article 561 Continue to DOI


dog in forest

Rehomed dogs recover well

Rehomed dogs recover and can build very strong bonds with their new owners is the conclusion of our latest publication in Frontiers.

Per Jensen with a chicken in his hands.

Pioneer with animals’ best interests at heart

What do animals do? What do they think? Do they have feelings? These are questions that have fascinated people through the ages and represent a field of research of their own. In ethology, Linköping professor Per Jensen is one of the leading figures.

two chickens.

How young chickens play can indicate how they feel

Researchers have for the first time mapped the development of play in young chickens. The results show that the young chickens spend lots of time playing in different ways – just like puppies and kittens.


Short CV

Academic degrees, positions, and achievements

  • PhD Applied Ethology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 1983
  • Docent in Ethology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 1985
  • Personal professorship in Ethology, Swedish University of Agricultual Sciences, 1988
  • Guest professor, Linköping University, 2002-2005.
  • Professor of Ethology, Linköping University, since 2005
  • Holder of “professor-contract” since 2008 (yearly funding of 2.2 MKr from Linköping University, granted on grounds of excellence to a number of University professors).


Publication record

  • More than 200 published peer reviewed papers.
  • 13 single-authored text books in Swedish.
  • Two edited international text-books.
  • h-index: 49

Invited talks 

More than 25 invited talks at different international conferences, for example: Society for Experimental Biology, Cognition and Evolution, German Ethology Conference, International Society for Applied Ethology Conference, Dutch Ethology Conference

Important national and international assignments

  • Editor-in-chief, Applied Animal Behaviour Science 1997-2020
  • Member/chairman of the EU-commision’s Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare, 1994-2003.
  • Member of scientific board for PhD-training school, University of Utrecht, 2001-2004
  • Member of the animal welfare council of the Swedish Agricultural Board, 2004 –2006; 2013 -2016
  • Member of Research Council Formas Scientific Board 2007-12
  • Member of Research Council VR scientific panel for international post docs 2013-2020
  • Member of ERC scientific panel for consolidator grants, Life Science 2013-2015
  • Member of ERC scientific panel for advanced grants, Life Science 2016-2021