News

Put the brakes on ‘gene drives’ for predator control, say researchers

John Kerr Nov 17, 2017

New Zealand wants to get rid of predators. But some of the genetic tools under consideration for the task could have disastrous consequences if they spread beyond our shores, warn researchers. Last year New Zealand boldly announced its ambitious Predator Free 2050 goal, and just yesterday unveiled a detailed strategy for reaching the goal. Investigating the potential of new … Read More

2017 in top three hottest years on record, with record-breaking extreme weather

John Kerr Nov 07, 2017

This year will be the third hottest year on record, according to a new report released to coincide with a major climate summit in Germany. World Meteorological Organization’s provisional Statement on the State of the Climate reveals that the mean global temperature for the period January to September 2017 was approximately 1.1°C above the pre-industrial era.  As a result of … Read More

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Earth Microbiome Project: crowd-sourcing the world’s bacteria

John Kerr Nov 02, 2017

A genetic database of over 27,000 bacterial samples from around the world – including New Zealand – will keep researchers busy for years to come. Cataloging the bacterial diversity of the entire planet? Given that microbes are basically everywhere, this seems like an impossible task. But an international team of researchers is taking on the challenge. The Earth Microbiome … Read More

Meteor shower to hit New Zealand skies

John Kerr Oct 20, 2017

Earth is passing through a cloud of comet debris and there’s good chance to catch meteors lighting up the New Zealand sky – weather permitting! Kiwis will witness the peak of the annual Orionids meteor shower tonight – at least those who are committed to getting up early (or staying up late) and who have the luxury of a clear night. The shower is … Read More

Snapper spillover: Marine reserves boost local population

John Kerr Oct 18, 2017

New Zealand’s first marine reserve doesn’t just protect snapper inside the reserve, it also acts as a snapper super-nursery, contributing ten times more fish than expected to the surrounding areas.  The findings come from a new study examining the genetic relationships between fish inside and outside the boundaries of the Goat Island Reserve – a Marine Protected Area (MPA) … Read More

NZ’s top researchers recognised in Royal Society Te Apārangi awards

John Kerr Oct 11, 2017

New Zealand researchers working at the cutting edge of their fields have been recognised at the Royal Society -Te Apārangi Research Honours Dinner. The annual awards dinner hosted by the Royal Society -Te Apārangi took place in Auckland last night and saw awards conferred not just to scientists and researchers, but also teachers and students. This years’ awards dinner also marked an important anniversary for … Read More

We need to get serious about mens’ health, say NZ doctors.

John Kerr Oct 08, 2017

Kiwi blokes have a lower life expectancy than women, are more likely to fall foul of accidents and certain diseases, and are less likely to seek medical advice. It’s time to sort out men’s health, say a group of New Zealand doctors. Prof David Baxter and colleagues tackle the topic of men’s health in the latest issue of the New … Read More

Rugby pros feel the pain later in life, but no regrets

John Kerr Sep 29, 2017

Elite rugby players are a pretty fit and healthy bunch, but new research suggests the strain of top-level rugby can take its toll on the body later in life. A new University of Oxford study, published today in Scientific Reports, finds that retired elite rugby players are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, joint replacement, and site-specific joint replacement … Read More

Limiting warming to 1.5 °C, we can do it – scientists

John Kerr Sep 19, 2017

The global warming limit set at the 2015 Paris Climate Summit is still possible, say scientists, but we need to redouble our efforts if the Earth’s atmosphere is to limbo under the ambitious boundary. In an article published today in Nature Geoscience an international team of climate scientists reports a re-assessment of complex Earth System Models. Crunching the numbers in light of new … Read More

Prenatal genetic screening risks information overload for parents

John Kerr Sep 11, 2017

A new report from New Zealand bioethicists warns that prenatal screening technology is developing exponentially – and we need to think hard about how we use it. The Judging Genes & Choosing Children report, funded by the New Zealand Law Foundation, digs into the ethical, legal and social issues posed by a new era of genomic testing for … Read More