Trudy Mackay is a geneticist who investigates the environmental and genetic factors that influence quantitative traits. These traits include height or weight and are represented by continuous, rather than discrete, values. Her work is undertaken by studying the impact of natural variants and mutations on many behavioural, morphological, physiological and life history traits in fruit flies, which she uses as a model organism.
The broad importance of such traits gives Trudy’s work potential application in many areas — from improving the breeding of crops and livestock to the treatment of human diseases. Alongside her research, Trudy is the co-author of the widely-used textbook, Introduction to Quantitative Genetics, first published in 1960.
Trudy has received a number of awards in recognition of her work, including, in 2004, both the Genetics Society of America Medal and the O. Max Gardner Award of the North Carolina State University. She was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2003 and of the US National Academy of Sciences in 2010.
Genome-wide association studies,