- 2016 Wolf Prize in Agriculture
Director of Clemson University's Center for Human Genetics. Mackay is recognized as one of the world's leading authorities on the genetics of complex traits. In 2016, she was awarded the Wolf Prize in Agriculture for her work in quantitative genetics, which studies the interaction between genes, traits and environmental effects.
Education and Work Experience
1979, Ph.D. in Genetics, University of Edinburgh
2006-2013, Distinguished University Professor of Genetics, North Carolina State University
2018-Present, Director and Professor of Genetics and Biochemistry at Center for Human Genetics, Clemson University
Honors and Awards
2004, Genetics Society of America Medal
2010, Fellow of the United States National Academy of Sciences
2016, Wolf Prize in Agriculture
2016, International Conference on Quantitative Genetics Award for Outstanding Contributions in Research
Major Academic Achievements
Mackay's research investigates the environmental and genetic factors that influence quantitative traits. These phenotypic traits include height or weight and are represented by continuous, rather than discrete, values. Her work is undertaken by studying
the impact of natural variants and mutations on many behavioural, morphological, physiological and life history traits in fruit flies, which she uses as a model organism. The broad importance of such traits gives Mackay's work potential application in many areas
— from improving plant breeding and animal breeding to the treatment of human diseases. Mackay is the co-author with Douglas Scott Falconer of the fourth edition of the widely used and highly cited textbook, Introduction to Quantitative Genetics, published in 1996.