UC Davis scientist receives Wolf Prize for wheat genomics research

By Sarah Gonzalez

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WASHINGTON, Jan. 17, 2014 - The Israel-based Wolf Foundation is honoring University of California, Davis, plant geneticist Jorge Dubcovsky with the 2014 Wolf Prize in Agriculture for his work in wheat genomics. He'll share the $100,000 prize with Leif Andersson from Uppsala University in Sweden.

The prizes are awarded annually by the Wolf Foundation, established in 1975 by Dr. Ricardo Wolf, to outstanding scientists and artists in the fields of agriculture, chemistry, physics, mathematics, medicine and the arts.

The Wolf Foundation committee wrote that Dubcovsky's “combined basic and applied approach was able to dramatically improve the nutritional value of wheat, and the impact of the discoveries was increased when they were made available to the scientific community.”

Dubcovsky, born and raised in Argentina, joined the UC Davis faculty in 1996. During the past two decades, he conducted research in mapping and isolating genes in wheat's massive genome and deploying those genes in wheat cultivars. He and his laboratory colleagues have identified and cloned genes involved in disease resistance, protein content, flowering and frost tolerance, which led to the development of more nutritious and better-adapted wheat varieties.

Annual Wolf Prizes have been awarded in five or six fields since 1978. This year five prizes were awarded to eight individuals in four countries. A total of 290 individuals from around the world, including this year's laureates, have been honored with the Wolf Prize. 

Dubcovsky and the other laureates will receive their awards in May from the president of Israel and Israel's minister of education during a ceremony at the Knesset Building in Jerusalem.

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