Chicken or Egg

Evolutionary tunes #2

Hilary Miller Nov 30, 2009

A few months ago I posted about a group of researchers in Germany who developed a musical game to demonstrate the processes of evolution.  Now researchers at Imperial College London have initiated a similar experiment called DarwinTunes, where you can participate as a selective force to help the music evolve… At Imperial College we are conducting an experiment to test [...] … Read More


New family tree for moa

Hilary Miller Nov 23, 2009

A new take on the evolutionary history of the moa was published in PNAS this week.  Mike Bunce from Murdoch University in Perth and researchers from Alan Cooper’s lab at University of Adelaide have combined genetic data from over 260 moa bones with anatomical, geological and ecological information, to revise species relationships among moa and suggest a timeframe and origin for [...] … Read More


Hilary Miller Nov 17, 2009

This week I learnt that November is the time for InaDWriMo – International Academic Writing Month (apparently the geek version of NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month).  For me November was already turning into finish-the-damn-paper-thats-been-torturing-me-for-months month, so I was quite chuffed to find that there’s actually an official word and occasion for this.   This year’s event is [...] … Read More


Genomes galore on the horizon

Hilary Miller Nov 10, 2009

When the first human genome sequenced was published in 2003, it represented the culmination of 13 years of work and cost nearly 3 billion dollars to complete.  In the six years since then an additional 55 vertebrate genome sequences have been produced, and the technology has moved on to the extent that sequencing genomes is [...] … Read More

Foot odour, anyone?

Hilary Miller Nov 04, 2009

If you’re passing by Karangahape Road in Auckland over the next 3 weeks check out the Crossing Wires Lab, a science meets art installation.  Plant and Food olfactory scientist Richard Newcomb and sensory artist Raewyn Turner have joined forces to produce this exhibition-come-science lab where the general public have the opportunity to participate in an active [...] … Read More

Open access week

Hilary Miller Oct 23, 2009

The past week has been Open Access Week, celebrating the unrestricted sharing of research results via the internet for the advancement and enjoyment of science and society. From the Open Access week website: Open Access is the principle that all research should be freely accessible online, immediately after publication, and it’s gaining ever more momentum around the [...] … Read More

Lab Waste

Hilary Miller Oct 20, 2009

Are you a molecular biologist or geneticist suffering from lab plastic waste-guilt?  Then here’s the video for you, made by Toronto-based biochemist, science writer, and artist Eva Amsen: We’ve all been told to reduce, reuse, and recycle when it comes to our households. But in the lab, unless there is an underlying money issue, this rarely comes [...] … Read More


Origins of NZ skinks revealed

Hilary Miller Oct 18, 2009

Most New Zealanders can name at least a dozen or so species of native bird, but how many can do the same for our native reptiles?  If you starting counting and only got as far as 1. tuatara, you’re probably not alone.  Although we are missing some of the major groups of reptiles (like snakes and [...] … Read More