At the 2014 AGA Symposium, the Council of the American Genetic Association granted the annual Stephen J. O'Brien Awards for best student-authored articles published in Journal of Heredityâ€™s 2013 volume. The award honors Dr. Stephen J. Oâ€™Brien, who served as Editor-In-Chief for the Journal from 1987-2007.
An Award Committee made up of the current Editor-In-Chief, Scott Baker, an Associate Editor, Jill Pecon-Slattery, and a Council member, David Baum, evaluated 15 eligible articles. Council voted to present this yearâ€™s award to two authors for their outstanding papers: Dr. Sara Hanson for her article, â€œInventory and Phylogenetic Analysis of Meiotic Genes in Monogonont Rotifersâ€ (supervisor, Dr. John Logsdon), and Dr. Alexander Nater for his article â€œMarked Population Structure and Recent Migration in the Critically Endangered Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo abelii)â€ (supervisor, Dr. Michael KrÃ¼tzen).
The Award Committee, in presenting their recommendation to Council, had the following comments:
â€œThe panel had a difficult time choosing a single top paper, as the strongest candidates differed markedly in subject and approaches. One article emphasizes genomics of rotifers, and the other the conservation genetics of Sumatran orangutans. The rotifer paper was refreshingly different from approaches taken by the other papers, examined an interesting evolutionary problem, and featured impressive methodology, including 454 sequencing of 2 genomes and rtPCR experiments for gene expression. The orangutan paper was nicely written and included comprehensive molecular ecology data across the full range of an endangered ape. It illustrated the insights possible by the integration of genetic and behavioral data of critically endangered, long-lived species.
The award included a $1,500 prize to each author, as well as up to $1,500 reimbursement to attend the AGA Symposium, and a one-year AGA membership and subscription to Journal of Heredity.