Neal L. First
Wolf Prize Laureate in Agriculture 1996/7
The Prize Committee for Agriculture has unanimously decided that the Prize for 1996/7 be awarded to:
Neal L. First
University of Wisconsin
Meat and Animal Science Department
Madison, Wisconsin, USA
“for his pioneering research in the reproductive biology of livestock.”
Professor Neal L. First has made pioneering contributions to animal genetics by the development of systems of bovine embryo cloning, gene transfer, and in-vitro production of livestock embryos. His research has resulted in major advances in the application of biotechnology to reproduction in farm animals, eliminating the need for brood cows in beef cattle breeding.
Nuclear transfer of genetic material is being developed to clone farm animal embryos. His ground-breaking research in this field has led to significant discoveries in reproductive biology. Prof. First’s laboratory pioneered the application of this technique to the genetic selection of livestock. He and his colleagues defined the conditions leading to optimal in-vitro fertilization and high frequency embryo development. They developed the defined growth media that are widely used to culture bovine embryos. The procedures developed in Prof. First’s laboratory have led to major discoveries throughout the world concerning embryo development in domestic animals.
The new knowledge provided by Prof. First’s research is having a major impact on the production of genetically advanced strains of livestock throughout the world. Advances include improved reproduction, growth, lactation, and disease resistance.