Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Dr Nick Albert wins Royal Society Te Apārangi Hamilton Award

Emerging plant geneticist Dr Nick Albert wins Royal Society Te Apārangi Hamilton Award

Plant & Food Research scientist Dr Nick Albert has received the Hamilton Award, the Royal Society Te Apārangi Early Career Research Excellence Award for Science. The award celebrates his contributions to the future development of new fruit varieties with novel colours and enhanced nutrition, as well as when/how during evolution the earliest land plants acquired their “sunscreen” properties to cope with environmental stress factors such as UV-B.

“It’s an honour to have my research recognised with such a prestigious award” says Dr Albert, a scientist in the Premium Crops & Technology Group. “I’ve always loved plants and am fascinated by how colour patterns form in flowers. I’ve been fortunate to combine this with my research interests in gene expression, and apply this to understanding how genes colour our fruits and vegetables.”

Dr Albert started as a summer student at Crop & Food Research (the predecessor of Plant & Food Research) in 2003 and showed great promise in plant biology before progressing to postgraduate study with Plant & Food Research and Massey University. His work focuses on identifying genes responsible for regulating where and when plants produce phytochemicals as well as the amount they make. Dr Albert currently leads research investigating why anthocyanins, pigments associated with health benefits, are usually limited to fruit skin, within a research programme which aims at developing novel berryfruit with enhanced anthocyanin content.

In 2014, he published a highly impactful paper that described the mechanism of genes in petunia that inhibit the production of anthocyanins and how they interact with all the other colour genes. This discovery was significant to horticulturalists and agriculturalists because the models have since been confirmed in multiple species and crops grown for human and animal consumption. These genes are now important targets for marker development in plant breeding programmes.

Dr Albert has recently completed a Marsden-funded research project that challenges when anthocyanin pigments evolved in plants. It has shown that flavonoid biosynthesis for UV-B protection is an ancient trait that arose early during land-plant evolution, helping plants to transition from aquatic environments to life on land. The project also discovered a new class of red pigments in liverworts, one of the closest living relatives to the first land plants. It was previously believed that the red pigments in liverworts were anthocyanins, but the research identified auronidins as the flavonoids that actually colour liverworts. The auronidins have novel properties that may contribute to the ability of liverworts to survive climatic stress, and contribute to their ability to live in extreme environments.

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Stats NZ: Largest Drop In Terms Of Trade In A Decade As Dairy Export Prices Sour

Lower export prices for dairy, meat, and logs in the September 2020 quarter led to the biggest drop in terms of trade since June 2009, Stats NZ said today. Export prices fell in the September 2020 quarter, down 8.3 percent from its highest ever ... More>>


Stats NZ: Election Boosts October Job Numbers

Job numbers were boosted by general election staff in October 2020, along with rises in the manufacturing, retail, and hospitality industries, Stats NZ said today. Filled jobs rose by 27,667 to 2.2 million in October 2020 compared with September, after ... More>>

Government: New Year Border Exception For Seasonal Workers In The Horticulture And Wine Industries

2000 additional RSE workers to enter New Zealand early next year employers must pay these workers at least $22.10 an hour employers will cover costs of managed isolation for the RSE workers RSE workers will be paid the equivalent of 30 hours work a week ... More>>


Media: Discovery, Inc. Completes Acquisition Of New Zealand’s Mediaworks TV Ltd

Auckland, New Zealand, December 1, 2020 - Discovery, Inc. (“Discovery”), the global leader in real-life entertainment, has completed its acquisition of New Zealand’s leading independent free-to-air commercial broadcaster, MediaWorks TV Ltd, now operating ... More>>

Department Of Conservation: Big Year Underway At Albatross Colony

Familiar faces are returning for the new season of Royal Cam, with a big breeding year underway for the toroa/northern royal albatross colony on Otago’s windswept Pukekura/Taiaroa Head. More than 120 albatrosses, a taonga species, have returned ... More>>

Real Estate: ASB Survey Reveals Majority Of Kiwis Expect House Prices To Keep Climbing


House price expectations are soaring as New Zealand’s housing market shifts up a gear. But stretched affordability is putting a dent in perceptions of whether it’s a good time to buy. While Kiwis reveal they do expect interest rates to fall further. ... More>>

Stats NZ: Births And Deaths: Year Ended September 2020

Births and deaths releases provide statistics on the number of births and deaths registered in New Zealand, and selected fertility and mortality rates. Key facts For the year ended September 2020: 57,753 live births and 32,670 deaths ... More>>