Wolf Prize Laureate in Agriculture 2014
The Prize Committee for Agriculture has unanimously decided that the 2014 Wolf Prize be awarded to: Jorge Dubcovsky and Leif Andersson.
Uppsala University, Sweden
Prof. Andersson has led the path in the development of genomic and marker assisted selection as a means to identify superior breeding stock; these advances in livestock selection have replace the more classical phenotypic selection methods and are an essential contribution to sustainable feeding of a growing world population. He is considered to be the world’s leading authority on the evolutionary genetics/genomics of animal domestication and particularly that of the domestic fowl. He was amongst the very first to use RFLP-technology to analyze genetic variation in livestock at the DNA level and to study its impact on economically important livestock traits and has been a forefront leader of animal genetics. One of the central themes of his research has been to identify molecular genetic changes that underlie animal domestication. He was the first to use next generation sequencing to identify a “domestication gene”, and has unraveled the molecular basis of several examples of “variation under domestication” as originally suggested by Darwin.
By studying unique phenotypes accrued following domestication, Prof. Andersson recently identified and characterized several novel and fundamental mechanisms pertaining to muscle physiology, gene regulation and motor coordination; this discovery in horses has important implications for human diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
He has uniquely been elected to three major scientific royal societies for biologists in Sweden (Royal Swedish Society for Agriculture and Forestry, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Roya Physiographic Society in Lund). He was recently elected as a Foreign Member of the US National Academy of Sciences.