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NZBio Secondary School Student's Essay Competition

6 December 2005

NZBio congratulates all entrants in the 2005 NZBio Secondary School Student's Essay Competition.

"The essays demonstrated an outstanding level of effort in answering the question: 'How might biotechnology applications affect me? Choose an application, explain the science and discuss its potential to impact on your life'," NZBio's CEO Brian Ward says.

First prize of $500 was awarded to Daphne Cohen of Hutt Valley High School, for her essay about biotechnology's ability to improve human health and medicine. Daphne's essay provided a detailed description of how individuals can be tested for the genetic mutations that are known to increase the likelihood of developing breast cancer, and the personal ramifications having this knowledge brings.

Second prize of $300 went to Anna Hoek-Sims of Palmerston North Girls' High School. Anna's essay explored both the potential benefits as well as the ethical implications of xenotransplantation, and included examples of New Zealand companies undertaking this type of research.

Alyssa Grant of Cashmere High School and Claire Bennett were awarded third equal, each receiving $150 in prize money.

Alyssa's essay examines how gene therapy may be used to improve patient outcomes in the treatment of life threatening diseases, and also its more controversial uses such as the creation of 'designer babies'. Claire's essay describes how crops are genetically engineered, outlining the arguments for and against the use of this technology.

"The judging panel had a difficult task deciding on the top three essays, due to the overall standard of entries which was extremely high. All students who entered are to be congratulated for the level of effort they put in," Mr Ward says.

"We were very pleased to see such a sophisticated level of knowledge about this exciting field of science from secondary school students. Every student who entered is to be congratulated for submitting work that was articulate and well thought out.

"We look forward to receiving a similar standard of essays in next year's competition."

ENDS

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