Our Changing World for Thursday 28 June 2007
On this programme
Jessie Jacobsen has been named the 2007 MacDiarmid Young Scientist of the Year. She is a PhD student at the University of Auckland, studying neurogenetics. Her research involves replicating the gene that causes Huntington's disease, and inserting it in sheep. The goal is to create a live animal model that can be used to study new therapies for this fatal brain disease.
Possum control is a heated issue. Killing possums by poisoning and trapping, while fairly successful as a control measure, has raised controversy over the potential side-effects for native species. Janine Duckworth from Landcare Research discusses a new approach she is researching: reducing possum fertility using a bait that selectively sterilizes marsupials, while leaving other types of animals unaffected.
Outside of forestry plantations, conifers that spread into the environment can grow like weeds, replacing native tussock grass and taking over pasture land. Justin Gregory talks to Nick Ledgard from ENSIS and Heather North from Landcare Research about controlling wilding conifers in the South Island.
"KAREN" stands for "Kiwi Advanced Research and Educational Network" - a new extra-high-speed data transferral system which will enable researchers to share genomic data with their counterparts throughout the world. It has recently received significant funding for further development. Chris Brown and his colleague Mik Black from the University of Otago School of Biochemistry explain how KAREN will benefit health research.