Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Fieldays scholarship to study cattle embryonic development

4 June 2014

Fieldays scholarship to study embryonic development in cattle

Waikato University student Brooke Wilson has been awarded a $5000 New Zealand National Agricultural Fieldays Sir Don Llewellyn Scholarship for her study into the effects of NANOG down-regulation in bovine embryos.

Brooke is studying for her Master of Science in biological science while working for AgResearch’s Stem Cell research team. The team is investigating the expression of genes throughout the early stages of embryonic development in cattle.

Embryonic stems cells (ESCs) are cells that are isolated from the early embryo that have the ability to self-renew indefinitely and turn into any cell type of that adult animal –a phenomenon known as pluripotency. Researchers have been able to derive ESCs in mice. However, attempts to replicate the process in other mammals have not yet been successful.

One gene that was found to be important for establishing pluripotency in mice is NANOG. NANOG encodes the transcription factor NANOG which regulates the expression of a variety of genes involved in self-renewal and plays a central role in the transcriptional network for pluripotency.

Brooke’s research is aimed at selectively reducing NANOG expression in bovine embryos, to better understand the gene’s function specifically in cattle.

“Basically we want to know if NANOG also plays a significant role in establishing pluripotency in cows as it does in mice. We would also like to identify the various genes that NANOG influences.

“The results from this project will assist in improving our understanding of cattle reproduction and embryology, with the future goal of generating a truly embryonic stem cell line for livestock animals.”

Brooke says that ESC research will have a significant economic impact on the nation, due to its potential to improve animal productivity and ensure that desirable traits can be passed on to the next livestock generation with much more certainty and speed.

“New Zealand’s economy is largely reliant on the success of its livestock industry. The beef and dairy sectors alone generate over a third of the country’s export earnings. Improving animal productivity is an important priority for farmers and, by extension, the country as a whole.”

The New Zealand National Agricultural Fieldays Scholarships are awarded each year to graduate students undertaking research at the University of Waikato with a specific focus on the agricultural sector.

This year the scholarship was split between Brooke and management student, Thomas Macdonald. Thomas was awarded $17,000 to assist his study into the cost of environmental compliance in the dairy industry.

Waikato University has a long-standing association with Fieldays – the university’s founding Vice-Chancellor Sir Don Llewellyn helped establish the event in the 1960s - and as the key tertiary institution in the Waikato region, the university has been a Strategic Partner of the NZ National Agricultural Fieldays for the past eight years.

Fieldays CEO Jon Calder he’s delighted to have two recipients of the scholarship. “Their work and research will make a real difference to New Zealand agriculture. Our founding purpose is to advance New Zealand agriculture. Thomas and Brooke will be fantastic ambassadors for Fieldays, the University and New Zealand.”

Mr Calder says the students’ work complements the 2014 Fieldays theme - Managing Resources for a Competitive Advantage. “Thomas’ research is addressing a current topical issue for our farmers while Brooke’s work will create new opportunity and possibilities for the future genetic lines of New Zealand’s cattle.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Kiwi Pride: Accolades For Film About Man Who Falls In Love With A Stick

A short animated film written and directed by New Zealand born Matthew Darragh has been selected for the Courts des îles, International Festival of Short Fiction Films. More>>

ALSO:

Anniversaries: Vivid Memories Four Years After Christchurch Quake

Four years ago, an earthquake that would change the lives of thousands shook Christchurch at 12.51 p.m. More>>

ALSO:

Environment 'n' Conservation: Slash Meets Tāne The Tuatara

Rock and Roll superstar and former Guns 'n' Roses guitarist Slash visited Zealandia Ecosanctuary along with collaborating band Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. More>>

Foo Fighters: Exclusive Show In Support Of Music Foundation

Frontier Touring has today announced that the Foo Fighters will play a last minute intimate and exclusive benefit show at the Auckland Town Hall this Friday February 20 with all profits going to The New Zealand Music Foundation. More>>

ALSO:

Canterbury Quakes: Feedback Sought On Short-Listed Memorial Designs

Six short-listed designs for the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial have been released for public input... The Memorial will honour the victims of Canterbury’s earthquakes and acknowledge the suffering of all those who lived through them as well as the heroism of those who participated in the rescue and recovery operations. More>>

ALSO:

Celia Lashlie: Legacy Will Live On

Social justice advocate Celia Lashlie leaves a legacy that will continue to have a positive impact on the lives of New Zealanders for years to come, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “Celia was a powerful voice for reason, sense and compassion. Her work, particularly with teenage boys, was ground-breaking." More>>

ALSO:

Obituary: Sad Farewell To PPTA Activist Robin Duff

Duff has been a long-time fixture of the association... Most recently Duff has been working hard to support Canterbury teachers through the quakes that devastated the region. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news