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

 

Bodega: Venue Closing At The End Of The Year, After 25 Years Of Music

"It is with considerable sadness that, for reasons beyond our control, we regret to announce the closure of Bodega’s doors at the end of this year, after 25 years of faithful and committed service to live music in Wellington." More>>

Memorabilia: Te Papa Buys Peter Snell Singlet

Te Papa has purchased the singlet worn by Peter Snell at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics at an auction this morning at Cordy’s auction house in Auckland. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Women At The Centre

In the first chapter of her epic History of New Zealand Women, Barbara Brookes places a version of the Māori creation story alongside that of the Pākehā colonists, setting the scene for how each society saw women. The contrast is startling. More>>

In Auckland Art Gallery: A Tour Of Duty

I had already started my journey through the exhibited collections when an audio announcement about a guided tour to embark shortly from the foyer was made, I decided to join in. Why not? More>>

Art: ‘Holiday’ Wins IHC Art Awards

An intricate embroidered cushion by Wellington artist Jo-Anne Tapiki has won the 2016 IHC Art Awards and $5000. Jo-Anne started working from IHC’s Arts on High studio in Lower Hutt 18 months ago and this is the first time she has entered the competition. More>>

‘Quasi’: Christchurch Art Gallery Reveals Rooftop Sculpture

Christchurch-born and internationally renowned artist Ronnie van Hout has had a huge hand in Christchurch Art Gallery's latest outdoor installation. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news