Roy Crawford was born on 6 June 1933 in Vancouver, Canada. He obtained his BSA at the University of Saskatchewan, his MS degree from Cornell University and his PhD in poultry genetics from the University of Massachusetts.
He served as a Research Officer with Agriculture Canada from 1957 to 1964 when he moved to the University of Saskatchewan as an Assistant Professor of Poultry Science, becoming full Professor in 1974. Dr Crawford has received many prestigious teaching awards throughout his career. His research programme was concerned with the study of single gene genetics, the major contribution being the discovery of a mutation that causes seizures in chickens. This internationally recognised research programme provided an important animal model of the grand mal form of epilepsy in humans. He has published over 60 scientific papers and written many chapters for technical books. A major academic achievement was the editing and production of Poultry Breeding and Genetics. Dr Crawford was an active member of the FAO/UNEP Expert Panel on Genetic Resources Conservation. He was a Founder and Past Chairman of Rare Breeds International. He was a Fellow of the Agricultural Institute of Canada and a Fellow of the Poultry Science Association and received the Saskatchewan Poultry Award of Merit.