Analysing the genomes of Australia’s iconic marsupials will provide insight into how they turn off and on the development of the early embryo; give birth to very underdeveloped young, and why marsupial milk changes radically over the months of lactation.
This knowledge could lead scientists to new treatments for premature births, better milk production in cows, as well as novel antibiotics. Marsupials fill an evolutionary gap between the distantly related birds/reptiles and the more closely related placental mammals (such as humans and cows).
University of Melbourne researchers have isolated a genetic ‘switch’ that can be turned on or off to alter the development of sex cells in plants.
The discovery brings understanding of fertilisation in plants to a new level, and is an important step towards growing greater amounts of food through increased fertilisation of crop plants. Professors Mohan Singh and Prem Bhalla, who head the University’s Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Laboratory in the Faculty of Land and Food Resources, analysed the genetic makeup of white lilies and other flowering plants to identify a germline-restrictive silencing factor (GRSF).
Embryonic stem cells from cattle can now be stored in mass in the laboratory, paving the way for advanced breeding developments in dairy cattle and other livestock.
These new ways of efficiently isolating and maintaining cells provide scientists from Australia’s Dairy Cooperative Research Centre with the raw materials to investigate a range of stem cell applications.
Dr Fiona Hogan is DNA fingerprinting Australian owls with the help of feathers and a keen public.
Her work is transforming our understanding of the night life of owls, normally notoriously secretive.
From a single feather, this Deakin University researcher can determine the species, sex, and identity of individual birds. She has already found a pair of powerful owls who have mated together for at least ten consecutive years, and that those breeding in urban areas are typically more closely related than those which breed in the bush.
What if the very thing that assists a fetus to grow in the womb could also prevent disease in a fully grown adult?
Monash Institute of Medical Research scientists have discovered that stem cells from the womb have the potential to treat inflammatory diseases such as lung fibrosis and liver cirrhosis in both children and adults.
Kilometre-wide erosion gullies eating their way across Australia’s northern landscape are proving likely culprits as the main source of the sediments that are flushed into the Gulf of Carpentaria each year, possibly smothering prawn and barramundi breeding and rearing habitats.