Philippe Mérat was born in France on the 29th February in 1927. After graduating, Ingénieur Agronome, from Institut National Agronomique in 1951, his whole career has been in Institute National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA). At first in the Poultry Research Station, then in the Mendelian Genetics Laboratory, of which he was made head in 1970.
As a geneticist, his work has dealt with the effects of Mendelian factors on economic traits. His thesis was centred on this topic and the became a Docteur ès Sciences in 1966. He was among the first to show that, in poultry, selection for economic targets can use simple genetic factors with outward effects as biological markers. Such studies require very detailed monitoring and analysis of performance, including the economics of production and responses to environment. The work is long and tedious and has discouraged many a scientist.
Thus, when a mutation for dwarfism (dw) was obtained, he contributed with Cochez to its use in female broiler-lines. Such lines are sold the world over by the French Company Institute de Sélection Animale (ISA). Similar research work was undertaken for tinted egg-laying lines. Dr Mérat selected divergent lines for feed efficiency associated with a major gene. He also studied heat-tolerance and meat percentage increase associated with the naked-neck gene (Na).
The study of such characters has a great interest for both developed and developing countries. The results has been the development of close cooperation between Philippe Mérat's laboratory and the Belgian University of Louvian on the one hand and the Egyptian Universities of Cairo and Alexandria on the other. The collaboration has involved the study of the endocrine and metabolic consequences of the d2 gene in various genotypes. In Egypt, Philippe Mérat studies the positive traits in the Fayoumi breed, which is heat-tolerant and resists coccidiosis, and the optimum crossing-programme for improving its production traits. Many PhD students have worked with Dr Mérat in his laboratory.
A member of the French Branch of WPSA, Philippe Mérat was its Secretary from 1969 to 1972. He is a member of the Genetics and Breeding Working Group (Working Group 3) of the European Federation. He has written many scientific papers, took part in World's Congress of Kiev (1966), Madrid (1970), Helsinki (1984), and in European Conferences in Hamburg (1980) and Paris (1986). He is an Associate Editor of World's Poultry Science Journal, contributing to it through his articles and providing the Journal's French summaries.
Nominated by France