Peter Dearden

Associate Professor Peter Dearden leads Southern Genes. He is the director of Genetics Otago. Peter was trained at Victoria University, PhD at Imperial College, University of London. He then worked in the Wellcome (now Gurdon) institute and the Museum of Zoology, University of Cambridge; the Zoology department, University of Western Ontario; and returned to New Zealand and the University of Otago in 2002. Peter is a researcher in the Laboratory for Evolution and Development, and Otago site leader for the National Research Centre for Growth and Development. Peter's research is centered in Evolution and Development, Epigenetics and Developmental plasticity. Peter is on Twitter @peterkdearden

Interview with a Science Communicator – Matt Benton - Genomics Aotearoa

Sep 07, 2010

Matt collecting centipede eggs in Scotland. I recently had the opportunity to mercilessly bug Matt Benton for an interview about his experiences in science and his opinions on sciencecommunication. Matt is currently a PhD student at the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK and I was keen to pick his brains about a place that has a certain mythical, foggy aura of expectation and history surrounding it. Matt completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Otago in 2008, graduating with a first class honours degree in Genetics and walking away with the Ann Wylie Prize in Genetics and the Junior Smeaton Prestige Scholarship in Experimental Science, awarded during his years here. His honours research project was investigating the evolution of insect torso-like and was … Read More

This week in Science History: 6-09-10 - Genomics Aotearoa

Sep 06, 2010

Megan Leask, PhD student, Laboratory for Evolution and Development Production of human insulin by bacteria: 6 September, 1978 In 1978 on the 6th of September U.S. scientists announced the production of human insulin by a strain of E. coli bacteria, that had been genetically engineered after months of creative use of gene-splicing techniques. A normal body’s production of insulin takes place within cells of the pancreas. In patients with type I diabetes, however, this production does not occur and thus they require insulin injections in order to control their blood glucose levels. Purified animal-sourced insulin was the only type of insulin available to diabetics until this amazing feat in genetics research occurred and, in 1982, insulin was the first recombinant DNA drug to be marketed, … Read More

Canterbury Earthquake - Genomics Aotearoa

Sep 04, 2010

Peter K Dearden Canterbury has been hit by a very significant earthquake. The University of Otago Christchurch buildings (formerly the Christchurch Medical School) where many Genetics Otago members work is damaged and closed. Our thoughts are with all of the people of Canterbury and especially our members at this time. Read More

Going to the Dogs… - Genomics Aotearoa

Sep 03, 2010

Peter K. Dearden. Laboratory for Evolution and Development, Genetics Otago and the National Research Centre for Growth and Development, University of Otago I own a dog. A nice one called Eddy, whose aim in life seems, now he is getting on a bit, to eat, and go for walks briefly, between long periods of sleeping. To quote Ted Hughes ‘he flops flat, and digs down deep, like a miner, into sleep.’ Eddy is a very domestic dog, and he has very floppy ears. I mention these things because they are the subject of a very cool paper, recently published in PLOS Biology, that looks at the genetics of traits such as size, ear floppiness and head shape in dogs. Why? Dogs come in a remarkable diversity of shapes and sizes unmatched, in my opinion, by … Read More

Are you descended from Neandertals? - Genomics Aotearoa

Sep 02, 2010

Mary Gray, PhD student, Clinical Genetics Research Group They huddled in their fur pelts wrapped against their dark skin with cords made from hide and gut. No one had travelled this far north before in the history of their people, and it was late enough for the wolves to come out. In the foothills ahead they could see the distinct light of a fire flickering in a grotto. Cold and weary the explorers trekked to the light with spears sharp and ready. Maybe they were not the first people to leave the motherland… Back in 2008 it was announced that the Neandertal mitochondrial genome had been sequenced and subsequently that humans and Neandertals did not interbreed. I was admittedly disappointed with that outcome — as were many other Jean M Auel fans. But the mitochonridal genome is only part (and … Read More

Let us introduce ourselves… - Genomics Aotearoa

Sep 01, 2010

Hi, Welcome to the Genetics Otago Blog. Genetics Otago aims to better promote genetics and showcase the wealth of talent in genetics in Otago. We have over 150 members, most in the University of Otago, but also in AgResearch and Abacus Bio. We also have members from the University of Otago Christchurch and Wellington campuses. Our members have interests in all aspects of genetics; from science to the impact of genetics on society and law. With such a diverse grouping I hope this blog will allow us to comment on all aspects of, and present some of the excitement and enthusiasm we have for the science of genetics. Peter K. Dearden, Laboratory for Evolution and Development, Genetics Otago and the National Research Centre for Growth and Development, University of Otago … Read More

The Joy that follows Sex! - Genomics Aotearoa

Aug 31, 2010

Peter K. Dearden. Laboratory for Evolution and Development, Genetics Otago and the National Research Centre for Growth and Development, University of Otago Do you feel you have never done anything remarkable? Ever feel that you have never achieved the truly stunning? Well stop it! Everyone on earth has survived a process so complex, remarkable and mysterious that they should feel proud. What is it that we have all achieved? It is embryogenesis; the process of cell division, differentiation and growth that made your body from a single fertilized egg. Embryogenesis is the most complex thing you will ever do, it is the most dangerous thing you will ever do- forget adrenalin sports- embryogenesis is more likely to kill you than anything else. It is a remarkable series of events that scientists have been struggling … Read More