Tagged: genetics

Ancient DNA giveth and ancient DNA taketh away: The penguin that never was - Guest Work

Guest Work Aug 18, 2017

Dr Nic Rawlence & Tess Cole, University of Otago Australian politics is mired in a duel-citizenship scandal. Certain politicians have discovered that they are in fact part kiwi and accusations of interference in Australian politics are flying. This trans-Tasman identity shock, however, is not unique to Australian politicians. Now new ancient DNA research has surprisingly shown it’s also found … Read More

Hiding in plain sight: how we found New Zealand’s newest seabird, the Kōhatu Shag - Guest Work

Guest Work Aug 14, 2017

Dr Nic Rawlence, Director, Otago Palaeogenetics Laboratory, University of Otago. New Zealand was once a land of birds. A bustling and cosmopolitan metropolis of different species that had evolved in isolation until the arrival of humans. Scientists thought we knew the characters that made up this enigmatic ecosystem of a time long past, but we were wrong. Read More

Conservation genetics of de-extinction: a primer - Guest Work

Guest Work May 09, 2017

Could we really bring an extinct species back from the dead, and, if we did – what happens next? Sciblogs is running a series of posts on de-extinction to coincide with a special issue of the journal Functional Ecology focusing on the topic. In this guest post, special issue author Dr Tammy Steeves from the University of Canterbury examines the genetic … Read More

De-extinction: the devil is in the details - Guest Work

Guest Work May 09, 2017

If we could resurrect an extinct species, should we? Sciblogs is running a series of posts on de-extinction to coincide with a special feature issue of the journal Functional Ecology focusing on the issue. In this guest post, special issue editor Prof Phil Seddon from the University of Otago delves into the realities of bringing a species back from extinction.  Conservationists … Read More

The search for Nessie showcases an exciting new conservation tool - Wild Science

Helen Taylor Apr 13, 2017

I was sceptical about my lab head joining the hunt for the Loch Ness monster, until I realised it was an excellent way to promote the amazing possibilities of environmental DNA. Making a splash Last week’s news was full of tales of how my boss, Professor Neil Gemmell, was going to take on the challenge of tracking down … Read More

‘Conservation by numbers’ hides genetic dangers in endangered species - Wild Science

Helen Taylor Jan 18, 2017

How do we know when a threatened species is ‘safe’? A new study featuring one of New Zealand’s iconic kiwi species suggests increasing population size might not be enough – an increase in numbers doesn’t always cut it for conservation… Saving threatened species tends to be a numbers game. We often use population growth as a proxy for population … Read More

The next frontier in reproductive tourism? Genetic modification - Guest Work

Guest Work Nov 22, 2016

Rosa Castro, Duke University The birth of the first baby born using a technique called mitochondrial replacement, which uses DNA from three people to “correct” an inherited genetic mutation, was announced on Sept. 27. Mitochondrial replacement or donation allows women who carry mitochondrial diseases to avoid passing them on to their child. These diseases can range from … Read More

Parts of our genome are actually viral - BioBlog

Alison Campbell Nov 04, 2016

I’ve just come across a most excellent article by the Genetic Literacy Project. In it, Nicholas Staropoli notes that a proportion of the human genome actually has viral origins. This might sound a bit strange – after all, we tend to think of viruses as our enemies (smallpox, measles, and the human papilloma virus come to mind). But, as … Read More

Swashbuckling NZ spider’s eight million year world tour - News

John Kerr Oct 14, 2016

Species of coastal New Zealand spiders likely rafted here as a part of an eight million year round-the-world trip, suggests a new study. The Amaurobioides genus of spiders has species dotted around the Southern Hemisphere, including New Zealand, Australia  and South America. These spiders eke out a tough life living in the coastal ‘spray zone’ on rocky shores. The genus includes the sea … Read More