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Wiener, Gerald, 1926-2023 (geneticist; former deputy director of the Animal Breeding Research Organisation)



  • Existence: 1926 - 2023


Gerald Wiener was born in Germany 1926. At aged 12, he arrived in the UK as part of the Kindertransport as a refugee from Nazi-occupied Germany. After attending school in Oxford, Wiener worked on farms for a couple of years before beginning a degree in Agriculture in 1944 at the University of Edinburgh.

In 1947, following his degree, Wiener joined the staff of the newly-formed National Animal Breeding Genetics and Research Organisation (NABGRO, later ABRO). He was the first junior to be appointed to the scientific staff at the headquarters,which was then based at house called 'Glenbourne', about a mile outside the city. Wiener's early years at NABGRO were spent in operational research, which was later submitted for a PhD. He began to undertake research into causes of variation (genetic, maternal, and environmental) in performance of cattle but in much greater detail with long-term experiments in sheep. This led to the significant discovery that the absorption of copper (an essential trace element) from the gut was in part genetically controlled. This research stretched over more than ten years and the discovery received much scientific interest and attention, as well as providing the basis for Wiener's degree of DSc and his election to the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Following his retirement Wiener undertook a variety of consultancies for the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and the British Council, most notably in Ethiopia, India and China. In 1988, he became involved in a collaborative project in north-western China on the yak, work which continues to this day. Wiener is the senior author on The Yak, a standard textbook on the animal.

Wiener is honorary Professor of two Chinese Universities, a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and of the Society of Biology, and an honorary member of the British Society of Animal Science whose scientific Journal he edited for 25 years.

Wiener has published two textbooks, chapters in others, and over a hundred papers in scientific journals.

Gerald Wiener died peacefully at home on Thursday 28th September 2023.

Found in 100 Collections and/or Records:


 Digital Record
Identifier: 1aec8737-58ab-4f13-95ac-02564af486be_0

Animal breeding, 1994

Identifier: Coll-1362/4/648
Scope and Contents

Located in Roslin Institute Staff Papers 1994. Part 2.

Dates: 1994

Additional filters:

Archival Object 98
Digital Record 1
Collection 1
Animal Genetics 94
Sheep 45
Animal Breeding 17
Blood--Analysis 17
Lambs 15