It is with sadness that we share the passing of Dr Rafiqul Islam, a long time worker at the Waite Institute, on Tuesday January 23, after a short illness. He came to the Waite from Bangladesh as a Colombo Plan postgraduate student in 1973 and graduated with a PhD in 1978. He spent the next 35 years at the Waite working on various research projects including wide crosses between Triticum and Hordeum species and the cytogenetics of their progeny. During this time he became world famous for producing the first set of 44-chromosome wheat-barley addition lines having individual pairs of barley chromosomes added to the wheat genome. These were eagerly sought after and, on request, were sent free of charge to more than 100 labs around the world. They have been used for many purposes but mainly as a simple means of assigning barley genes to a particular chromosome.
These were not easy assignments involving thousands of crosses, embryo cultures and cytological analyses requiring much diligence and dedication. A feature of this work was the need to be in attendance almost daily for watering and crossing purposes and it was a rare occasion when Rafiqul’s car could not be seen at the Waite at some time during the day. He would have certainly won the attendance award if one had been offering! His contributions over those 38 years will be part of the Waite Institute legacy.