Genomics Aotearoa

Working out what makes us human.

Peter Dearden Dec 20, 2013

Peter K. Dearden. One key question in biology is what makes us different as a species. Humans have a remarkable set of adaptations that distinguish us from even our closest living relatives. We walk upright, we have larger brains, we use language, and we are consummate tool-makers and users. From the point of view of an alien, perhaps, these differences … Read More

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AgResearch, Invermay and Genetics

Peter Dearden Nov 26, 2013

Peter K. Dearden The opinions below are my own, and not necessarily those of the University of Otago, my employer. You may be aware that AgResearch has decided to move its genetics/genomics team from Invermay near Dunedin, to Lincoln. This move has excited a great deal of attention in the Otago press, and some consternation around here. Genetics Otago  … Read More

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Finding future treatments for Cancer

Peter Dearden Sep 25, 2013

Dr Elizabeth Duncan Cancer.  It is a small word, but one that has a big meaning for a lot of people.  Most of us know someone who has had cancer, or are cancer survivors. As a geneticist I can sometimes have a dispassionate view of the world around me, but last night as Jessica Wapner read an excerpt from her … Read More

Fork Futures

Peter Dearden Aug 06, 2013

Peter K. Dearden It is hard to avoid the news that last night, a beef burger grown in the lab was consumed by a number of people. The idea was that meat, grown in dishes in the lab, could replace meat grown in animals; last night was a demonstration of the principle. The beef burger in question was grown from … Read More

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Lethal doses and Bees

Peter Dearden Jul 30, 2013

Peter K. Dearden More bad news for bees this week. Honeybees around the world are struggling in the face of disease and insecticide threats. In New Zealand we have Varroa mite, that increases costs for beekeepers, destroys unmanaged beehives and vectors viruses, making them more virulent. Overseas, Colony Collapse Disorder and pesticide-threats are adding to the woes Varroa brings, meaning … Read More

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Is there a penis on your CV?

Peter Dearden Oct 05, 2012

By SM Morgan It’s always tricky raising a polarising issue, and occasionally especially so in an on-line forum with the potential for excessive trolling, but I (and evidently a lot of others worldwide) think it is definitely something on which needs to have an open discourse established, and I would hate for our wee country to miss out on the opportunity for … Read More

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My Cute Model Friend

Peter Dearden Sep 18, 2012

by SM Morgan I recently helped an office mate clean out his Tenebrio culture, which had been infected and overrun with fungus.  My scientific career to date has been primarily concerned with Mesorhizobium and Drosophila, so playing around with new ‘lab rats’ is a treat. Clean Tenebrio cultures.  Photo: SM Morgan Tenebrio molitor in its larval form is commonly called ‘mealworm’ … Read More

Does eating transgenic wheat destroy your liver?

Peter Dearden Sep 12, 2012

Peter K. Dearden Today saw some discussion in the press about a statement by Canterbury University’s Prof Jack Heinemann,  Prof Judy Carmen (Flinders University) and Prof Michael Antoniou (King’s College, London), around the risks of a new transgenic wheat variety being assessed for release by CSIRO in Australia. These statements released by the Safe Food Foundation, provide an opinion … Read More

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Now we begin to understand how the genome works!

Peter Dearden Sep 06, 2012

Peter K. Dearden You might have seen the press coverage of the release of the ‘Encode’ data which significantly increases our understanding of the functions of the Human genome. I have spent some time trying to explain it to the public, usually through using very unhelpful metaphors. I thought, just in case people were still confused ( or more confused), … Read More

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