US poultry professor awarded by Swedish university

26-08-2011 | |

A Virginia Tech faculty member whose decades-long career has contributed to international research on animal genetics and breeding has earned a top honor from a Swedish university.

Paul Siegel, University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Animal and Poultry Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, will receive an honorary doctorate from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, Sweden. The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science will present the honorary degree at an awards ceremony in Uppsala on Oct. 8.

Since 1957, Siegel has built his career at Virginia Tech on understanding the effects of breeding on the growth, reproduction, and immunology of chickens. His most famous study involves a simple experiment that created high-growth and low-growth poultry lines from a common flock of White Rock chickens. After breeding the heaviest and lightest chickens with others of similar weight for more than half a century, the high-growth chickens now weigh an average of 10-times more than their low-growth counterparts by the time they reach the eight-week selection age.

This experiment, which has improved the scientific understanding of everything from animal appetites to genetics, has garnered the attention of National Geographic and the scientific journal Nature in recent years. In 2010, the American Poultry Historical Society inducted Siegel into the American Poultry Industry Hall of Fame, the industry’s top honor.

Seigel received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Kansas State University.

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