Professor Zeng Yitao, born in May 1939 in Shunde County of Guangdong province, China, is a well-known medical geneticist. He finished his undergraduate study in the Department of Biology, Fudan University in 1962, and received his master's degree from Institute of Genetics, Fudan University in 1966. Now he is professor of Medical School, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, director of the Institute of Medical Genetics, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, director of Key Laboratory of Embryo Molecular Biology, Ministry of Health, China, and Shanghai Key Laboratory of Embryo and Reproduction. He was in the first group to be elected academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering in 1994.
Professor Zeng has devoted himself to the study of genetic diseases and molecular embryology over the past years. He is one of the leading scientists in molecular diagnosis, hemoglobin disorders and embryo engineering in China. He combined the molecule biology and the clinic practice, developed a series of molecular diagnostic technology and took the lead in accomplishing prenatal molecular diagnosis for various severe genetic diseases in China, such as thalassemia, phenylketonuria, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, hemophilia and Huntington disease. Professor Zeng also made great contribution to hemoglobin chemistry, globin gene organization and expression as well as the treatment of thalassemia syndrome. He found eight new hemoglobin variants and was the first Chinese scientist who was granted a fund by National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA for the research project on human hemoglobin studies.
In 90's of the 20th century, Professor Zeng first cloned the sex-determining gene SRY of the bovine and goat and controlled the sex of livestock by identification of the embryonic SRY gene and embryo transfer. During the study of transgenic animals/bioreactor, he and his colleagues successfully created transgenic goats with the expression of human clotting factor IX in the milk and a transgenic IVF cow integrated with human serum albumin gene, which were appraised as the top ten of scientific achievements in China in the years of 1998 and 1999 by the academicians of the Chinese Academy of Science and the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
Professor Zeng has published more than 400 papers and was the chief editor of 6 scientific treatises. He has applied for or obtained 10 patents at home and abroad. Professor Zeng has received more than 30 prizes for significant achievements in science and technology awarded by the State, Ministry of Public Health and Shanghai Municipal government. He had got three second prizes, two third prizes of the Scientific and Technological Achievement given by the State, three first prizes of the Scientific and Technological Achievement given by Shanghai Municipality, three first prizes of the Scientific and Technological Achievement given by the Ministry of Public Health. He is also national excellent worker, holder of the national “May 1st” medal, heroic scientist of Shanghai municipality, awardee of the Scientific and Technological Achievement of Heliang & Heli, holder of the honor in medical science awarded by Shanghai Municipality and the title of “state-level young and middle-aged specialists with outstanding contribution and distinguished young expert”.