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Reflections On Science

Lawmakers must keep up with the pace of changing technology – Michelle Dickinson

Sarah-Jane O'Connor posted in on December 5th, 2016.

With technology advancing at breakneck speed, we risk foundering on ethical and legal decisions, writes Dr Michelle Dickinson – aka ‘Nanogirl’ – in the NZ Herald. An excerpt (read in full): As individuals I don’t think we have yet come to grips with what is ethical or high risk around new technology, let alone formed […]

Who settled the Pacific? – In the News

Sarah-Jane O'Connor posted in on October 4th, 2016.

New research published today in Nature suggests the first people to settle in the Pacific were from Asian farming groups rather than the Papuan ancestry that had been suspected. The international team of researchers sequenced ancient DNA from 3000-year-old skeletons from Vanuatu and Tonga and found they had little or no Papuan ancestry. Rather, the […]

Nobel Prize in Chemistry – Expert reaction

John Kerr posted in on October 9th, 2015.

The 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to Prof Tomas Lindahl of the Francis Crick Institute, jointly with Prof Paul Modrich of Duke University School of Medicine, and Prof Aziz Sancar of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. The prize was awarded to the trio “for mechanistic studies of DNA repair”. […]

Genome editing of human embryos – Expert reaction

John Kerr posted in on April 24th, 2015.

Chinese researchers claim to have used to cutting edge techniques to tweak the genomes of human embryos. The new research, as reported in Nature News and published in Protein and Cell, shows that editing of DNA in embryos is possible, but that many hurdles must be overcome before the technology can realistically be used in medical […]

Scientists sequencing DNA of endangered tuatara – Dominion Post

Laura Goodall posted in on April 22nd, 2015.

The Dominion Post‘s Olivia Wannan looks at how sequencing DNA from the tuatara could help conservationists develop a better way to bring it back from the brink of extinction. Olivia is a finalist in the Reporter Science and Technology category for this year’s Canon Media Awards. An excerpt (read the story in full here): Forget animal attraction – the perfect mate for […]

Looking at Lincoln’s genes

Laura Goodall posted in on October 6th, 2014.

Kim Knight at the Sunday Star Times chats to Kiwi scientist Ann Horsburgh about her role in National Geographic’s US documentary Lincoln’s Secret Killer, which screens on Sky’s History Channel on October 29. Excerpt (full article not available online): When pressed, Dr K. Ann Horsburgh will show you photographs of her Darwin cookies. Perfectly round, and […]

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Phar Lap’s genome to be sequenced

John Kerr posted in on June 28th, 2013.

DNA from the New Zealand-born legendary racing horse Phar Lap is to studied in the hope of identifying the genetic underpinnings of the thoroughbred’s success. The University of Sydney has this week announced they will be sequencing Phar Lap’s DNA, and the skeleton of the Phar Lap, housed at the Te Papa museum in Wellington, […]

BRIEFING: Unravelling your genome

John Kerr posted in on November 14th, 2012.

Your genome – the billions of bits of DNA code that make up the instructions needed to make you who you are – is not quite the mystery it once was. The technology required to sequence your genome is now more accessible than ever. Already companies are offering sequencing services for private citizens. But what can […]

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Autism genetics unravelled – experts respond

John Kerr posted in on April 5th, 2012.

New research published in the leading journal Nature has started the difficult process picking apart the underlying genetic factors that contribute to Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Although it is well accepted that genetics make a strong contribution to ASD, most of the underlying causes remain unknown. In addition, despite the identification of specific […]

Microbes in soil could help fight crime

Peter Griffin posted in on February 29th, 2012.

A bid by Massey University researchers to showcase the latest DNA sequencing technologies for students around New Zealand may help compile a census of microbial life in the nation’s soils. It could also  spark new interest in having  a national database of soil microbe DNA of potential use for forensic work. A senior lecturer in […]

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