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An American and a Belgian will share the $100,000 Wolf Prize for Agriculture for ground-breaking discoveries in genetics and genomics.
Prof. Ronald Phillips of the University of Minnesota and Prof. Michel Georges of the University of Liege will receive the "Israeli Nobel" at a ceremony in the Knesset in May for "laying the foundations for improvements in crop and livestock breeding and sparking important advances in plant and animal sciences," the judges announced.
Phillips generated corn plants from cells grown in culture, which laid the foundation for methods to genetically modify corn plants and other cereals.
Phillips, 67, received his PhD in genetics from the University of Minnesota and has been affiliated with it since 1968. He is world-renowned for research in plant science and for teaching plant genetics.
Georges, 47, received a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Liege. He has been affiliated with the Free University Brussels since 1983 and also taught at the University of Utah for a few years.
Georges, is an expert in animal genetics and genomics, and in the development of tools and strategies for increasing the efficiency of genome analysis for livestock improvement.
The Israel-based Wolf Foundation was established by the late German-born inventor, diplomat and philanthropist, Dr. Ricardo Wolf. A resident of Cuba for many years, Wolf became Fidel Castro's ambassador to Israel, where he lived until his death in 1981.
Five Wolf Prizes have been awarded annually since 1978, to outstanding scientists and artists for achievements in the interest of mankind and friendly relations among peoples.