Former GSA Treasurer Trudy Mackay has been honored with the 2016 Wolf Prize in Agriculture. Bestowed by Israel’s Wolf Foundation, the prize is sometimes considered to be “the Nobel Prize in Agriculture.”


Trudy Mackay

Trudy Mackay (Credit: NC State University)

Trudy F.C. Mackay, PhD
William Neal Reynolds Distinguished University Professor of Biological Sciences and Associate Member of Entomology
North Carolina State University
GSA Treasurer, 2006–2010
GSA Board of Directors, 1999–2001
President, Drosophila Board of Directors, 2006–2007
GSA Medal, 2004 recipient
Associate Editor, GENETICS, 1991–2002
Section Editor, FlyBook in GENETICS


Mackay was recognized for her pioneering work on quantitative traits and the interaction of genetics and environmental factors, mostly using the Drosophila melanogaster model system. The Drosophila Genetic Reference Panel, which she developed, is also acknowledged as an important contribution, as it has enabled researchers worldwide to share a common resource for studying multi-gene traits.

The judges’ panel was quoted as saying:

It is now well recognized that the majority of traits of economic importance in animal and plant breeding and traits related to most human diseases as well are influenced by a large number of genes acting in complex regulatory networks.

Trudy Mackay was among the first to realize this, and throughout her career has used quantitative genetics to provide fundamental insight in the complex interplay between genes acting on complex traits as well as in understanding the interaction with the environment. Moreover, she was among the first to realize that the rapid developments in genomics allowed the integration of quantitative genetics with molecular details of genes interacting within complex regulatory networks.

Wolf Prizes were also announced by Israel’s Education Minister, Naftali Bennett, and Nobel laureate Dan Shechtman in chemistry, mathematics, medicine, physics, and the arts. The Prizes will be formally presented in June at the Knesset in Jerusalem by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

The Prizes, which come with a $100,000 monetary award, are presented by the Wolf Foundation, which was founded by Dr. Ricardo Wolf, a German-born inventor and former Cuban ambassador to Israel.


Additional Information:

Adam Fagen was formerly Executive Director of the Genetics Society of America.

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