Prem Narain obtained BSc, BSc (Hons), and MSc degrees from Lucknow University, and then joined Drosophila Laboratory, Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar (UP) (1958), where he was exposed to quantitative genetic studies that became his life-long passion. He taught postgraduate courses at the Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute (IASRI), New Delhi (1961-67) and received PhD (1969) from the Institute of Animal Genetics, Edinburgh University, UK working under the guidance of Professor Alan Robertson FRS. Thereafter, he returned to India and continued research at IASRI where he finally became Director (1981). His published research work led to the award of DSc (1984) by Edinburgh University. He moved to Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi (1992) from where he retired in 1994 holding the position of Dean and Joint Director (Education). He has been an INSA Honorary Scientist after retirement.
Academic and Research Achievements: Narain studied the effect of linkage in inbred systems by generalizing Malecot's concept of coefficient de parente to an arbitrary number of linked loci for the first time. He investigated the genetics of quantitative variability by extending Hayman's method of representing mathematically the laws of genetics to multiple allelic systems. He developed a new concept of the distribution of time taken for the fixation of a gene in finite populations, which has since been useful in animal breeding and evolution. He introduced the method of conditioned diffusion equations in relation to population genetic problems but applicable to other areas also such as economics and structural engineering. He developed efficient methods of progeny testing, sire evaluation, phenotypic and selection indices for use in animal breeding as well as efficient designs of partial diallel crosses for use in plant breeding. He studied intra-individual variation in food and human nutrition and gave a new genetic interpretation of this variation. He also developed a 'dialectical approach to agriculture' as well as a general theory of the 'transmission disequilibrium test' for two linked flanking marker loci used in interval mapping of a disease gene. He has authored over 250 research articles, written and edited several books including a treatise on Statistical Genetics. He mentored a large number of students including about 22 PhDs.
Other Contributions: As FAO expert, he developed a manual on Training Programs in Food and Agricultural Statistics and reviewed the program `Organization of Agricultural Pilot Census in China (1993-96). He established the UNDP project 'Centre of Advanced Studies in Agricultural Statistics and Computer Applications' at the IASRI; and developed a blue-print of KRISHINET, the agricultural research and education information system. He was Member, National Statistical Commission (2000-01); Council Member, International Statistical Institute; and on the editorial boards of several journals including Corresponding Editor of the Proceedings of the Royal Society, London.
Awards and Honours: Professor Narain was conferred Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Memorial Prize (1977), Sankhiyi Bhushan (1991), OP Bhasin Foundation Award (1992), Distinguished Service Award (1993), Dr MS Randhawa Memorial Award (1997-98), Dr BP Pal Memorial Lecture Award (2007), GP Chatterjee Memorial Lecture Award (1987) by INSA and National Award in Statistics by Government of India (2003). He was elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore and the National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad, Founder Fellow of National Swiss Replica Watches Academy of Agricultural Sciences, New Delhi, President, Indian Region, International Biometric Society, Sectional President, Indian Science Congress, President, Indian Society of Agricultural Scienc, Secretary-General, Federation of Indian Societies for Agricultural Sciences and Technology and Executive President, Indian Society of Agricultural Statistics.