Gerald Weiner - “The need for food: the history of the Animal Breeding Research Organisation, before Dolly – an eyewitness account”.

24 Nov 2021

BSAS Hon. Member, Gerald Weiner, has authored an article on the history of the Animal Breeding Research Organisation (ABRO) titled - “The need for food: the history of the Animal Breeding Research Organisation, before Dolly – an eyewitness account”. Gerald was the Deputy Director of the Organisation until his retirement in 1986 and is the only surviving member of the original team appointed when ABRO was founded in 1947.

The Animal Breeding Research Organisation (ABRO) was formed as a result of the recommendations of a joint Committee of the Agricultural Improvement Council and the Agricultural Research Council, set up in 1943, to consider the direction thar research in animal genetics and breeding in Great Britain should take, to advance scientific knowledge and assist animal production in the farming industry.

The organisation was formally started in 1945 with the appointment of a Director and a Chief Geneticist but did not begin to appoint other staff and to acquire experimental facilities until 1947 and onwards, when headquarters were set up in Edinburgh. Weiner’s article places ABRO in its historical and scientific context and proceeds to chart its development over the years. Difficulties of acquiring experimental facilitis are explained, but emphasis is placed on the projects that were undertaken, many of a long-term nature, the reasons for them, the problems that arose and the outcomes, many of which continue to be relevant to animal science and production now. The cloning that produced Dolly the sheep came after ABRO had been merged into the Roslin Institute, but the team involved derived from ABRO days.

To read the full article, click here.