Dr R. George Jaap was an active faculty member in the Department of Poultry Science at the Ohio state University for 30 years. A native of Canada, Dr Jaap was awarded a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at the University of Saskatchewan in 1927 and 1929.
He completed graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin in Genetics and obtained Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in 1930 and 1933. For one year, Dr Jaap remained at Wisconsin as a postdoctoral fellow. He was employed for an additional year as a hatchery manager by Swift and Company. In 1935 Dr Jaap joined the faculty of Oklahoma State University in Poultry Science. He remained in this position until 1946 when he became Professor of Poultry Science at the Ohio State University. Dr Jaap retired and was named an emeritus professor in 1976.
Dr Jaap had a long and distinguished career in the field of poultry genetics and breeding. He was well known and highly respected by his colleagues both in educational institutions and the poultry industry. During his career at the Ohio State University he served as adviser to 38 graduate students, 16 of whom obtained Master of Science degrees and 22 PhD degrees.
Dr Jaap's major contributions to the poultry industry have been through research on quantitative inheritance of growth rate and egg production in chickens and the utilization of breeding methods to achieve rapid gains in performance. He published meritorious research on the inheritance of various single gene traits in avian species; on physiological genetics related to hormonal response and development of endocrine glands; in breeding methods for application of inbreeding and cross-breeding to obtain superior performance and in cytogenetics by identifying chromosomal abnormalities that alter development. Many commercial poultry breeders employ professionals who obtained training as graduate students with Dr Jaap. A major discovery that proved to be of great significance in biology and medicine was the finding that the bursa of Fabricius produced antibodies and was important to the immune system of the chicken.
A member of many scientific societies and organizations, Dr Jaap was particularly active in both the Poultry Science Association and the World's Poultry Science Association. In addition to service on many committees of PSA, he was an Associate Editor (1939-1944) and Editor (1944-1949) of Poultry Science. He was named a Fellow in 1959 and served as director, Vice President and President in the early 1960s. He has served the WPSA as a council member (1951-1957), Editor of the WPSJ (1958-1973), and Treasurer and Assistant Secretary (1958-1978).
The professional awards and honours bestowed on Dr Jaap include a Fulbright Research Scholarship in 1951, the Ralston Purina Teaching Award of the PSA in 1970, French Medal of Honour for excellent service to Agriculture in 1971, the Macdougall Award for meritorious service in 1974, election to the American Poultry Historical Society Poultry Hall of Fame in 1977, chosen for the Distinguished Graduate in Agriculture Award by the University of Saskatchewan in 1986 and given the Meritorious Service Award by the Ohio Poultry Association in 1992.
Dr Jaap also served on an FAO panel on animal breeding and climatology from 1964 to 1968 and as an adviser to the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil to develop a programme of poultry breeding research. He has recently established a US$ 500 000 endowment fund at the Ohio State University to support research dedicated exclusively to the advancement of the poultry industry.
Dr Jaap died on 19 July 1992.