Joachim Messing, among the world's top experts in molecular genetics, became famous for developing a genetic engineering technique used in laboratories to create plants that have produced disease-resistant crops considered vital to feeding the world's population.
Instead of cashing in on his discovery, he gave this scientific blueprint which revolutionized agriculture and helped to crack the genetic code of plants like rice and corn away for free to his fellow scientists around the world.
Messing, director of Rutgers University's Waksman Institute of Microbiology, chose to share his research because he believed it could result in more sustainable crops that would help to end hunger and conserve the environment.
"When I look at the products that have been made today, it is clear they were dependent on the tools that were developed many years ago," said Messing, the Selman A. Waksman Chair in Molecular Genetics at Rutgers. "I thought it was important to be generous and make this freely available without restrictions so biotechnological innovations could move forward."
For his contribution to humanity, Messing has been recognized by the Wolf Foundation of Israel and awarded the 2013 Wolf Prize in Agriculture. The Wolf Prize honors scientists and artists whose "achievements are in the interest of mankind and friendly relations among peoples."
The professor of molecular biology who teaches undergraduates and mentors students in his laboratory is being recognized for innovations in recombinant DNA cloning, more commonly known as genetic engineering, and for deciphering the genetic code of crop plants. He will share the $100,000 prize with Jared Diamond of the University of California, a scientist and Pulitzer Prize winner, who has written several best-sellers, including Guns, Germs and Steel.
Messing is among only eight recipients worldwide chosen to receive the prize awarded annually in agriculture, chemistry, mathematics, medicine/an
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