MEDIA RELEASES & NZGL NOTICES (1):

22 December 2016

Bio-IT Support over holidays

NZGL is closed for the holiday period from 5 pm Thursday 22 Dec 2016 until Monday 16 January 2017. More »

For Bio-IT support please email bioit@nzgenomics.co.nz
This address is monitored over the break and our on call support person will be in touch.
For all project enquiries, please use our online project enquiry form.
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17 November 2016

NZ Genomics Ltd urges New Zealanders to learn about revolutionary gene editing techniques

The Royal Society of New Zealand has issued a carefully researched paper explaining the new genetic editing techniques, such as CRISPR-Cas9, which represent a true leap forward in biology. The technique uses nature’s own DNA “scissors” and is so precise and simple to use that scientists themselves are still processing the astounding possibilities and potential risks. More »


NZ Genomics Ltd (NZGL) supports the Royal Society’s efforts to educate New Zealanders about how CRISPR-Cas9 works, what is happening now and what could happen in the very near future. NZGL Chief Executive Sandy Baines says, “We all need to have some idea of what the technology involves and the essential differences between this and genetic modification or selective breeding, which takes advantage of random DNA mutations that occur in nature.

“Some decisions about applying the new technology, especially those involving advances in medicine, will be readily understood and embraced from the outset. The prospect of being able to cure genetic diseases, is incredibly exciting. The carriage of infectious diseases by particular insects could also be reduced (e.g. Malaria and Zika virus on particular mosquitos).

“In agriculture, we could generate crops with desired characteristics, such as improved nutritional content, drought tolerance and pest resistance, rather than waiting for nature to make a DNA copying error that happens to confer these advantages. Crown Research Institute Scion is immediately thinking about producing a sterile pine tree that can’t spread its seed and go wild in places like the McKenzie Basin. Wilding pines are becoming a huge and unsightly problem.

“Other potential applications, such as de-extinction or rendering a pest species infertile – I stress that neither of these is an immediate possibility - will be much more complex and require deep, community-wide consideration.”

So far, the use of CRISPR editing is limited to research laboratories. There are many kits for this kind of work available commercially from major scientific companies (Origene, Thermo Fisher, Genescript etc.). It is relatively simple to use. The ready availability of the technology, and the difficulties of detecting the difference between natural mutations and gene edits, raise concerns about control over its use. Scientists are giving a lot of thought to its responsible use and risk assessment, as well as the opportunities.

Rutherford Discovery Fellow, Associate Professor Peter Fineran (University of Otago), a user of NZGL services, has been following the development of these techniques from the outset. He says, “We are the only lab in New Zealand whose main research focus is on biological function of CRISPR-Cas systems and have been working in this area since 2008.

“The scientific community is incredibly excited about gene editing and CRISPR-Cas9 in particular. There are 40-50 research publications weekly on CRISPR-Cas9 with people applying it to new questions. I strongly feel that the wider public needs to be aware of what these technologies can offer New Zealand’s environment, economy and health. It is necessary to have a basic understanding of what these tools can do and only then can we have an informed discussion about the benefits vs the risks.”

NZGL is taking responsibility, along with other trusted science organisations like the Royal Society of NZ and the National Science Challenge for NZ’s Biological Heritage, for educating the public and media about this extremely fast-moving area of science and technology.

About NZGL

New Zealand Genomics Ltd (NZGL) was established, and is co-funded, by the government (MBIE), University of Auckland, University of Otago, and Massey University, to provide DNA sequencing and analysis services to the whole New Zealand research community.

It provides bioinformatic services for a number of research programmes of national importance. Finding critical sequences of DNA can be like looking for a needle in a haystack, and requires advanced statistical and computer programming methods. NZGL’s specialist expertise in genomics and bioinformatics enables New Zealand scientists to achieve work of national and international importance.

NZGL is currently sequencing the genomes of the critically endangered kākāpō and will eventually sequence the entire population subject to funding being available. This will help scientists address inbreeding, which is a real issue for species when they reduce to such low numbers.

Genomic science is a powerful tool for human health researchers. Internationally, tuberculosis (TB) affects 9 million people, causes 1.5 million deaths. Recent updates in sequencing technologies have allowed new workflows to be developed by the NZGL team to carry out whole genome sequencing of TB bacteria for a University of Otago research group to investigate the potential of new diagnostic methods that will offer personalised, targeted treatment.
MORE INFORMATION

About NZGL:
Sandy Baines
NewZealandGenomicsLimited (NZGL)
Tel 03470 3495
Mob: 027 293 8090
Email: sandy.baines@nzgenomics.co.nz

About CRISPR and gene editing:

Associate Professor Peter Fineran
University of Otago
Email: peter.fineran@otago.ac.nz
Website: http://micro.otago.ac.nz/our-people/peter-fineran/

The Royal Society of New Zealand
http://www.royalsociety.org.nz/gene-editing

General media enquiries:
Glenda Lewis
Creative Science Communications
Mob: 027 210 0997
Email: glendajanelewis@gmail.com
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15 November 2016

NZGL Supports Wide Reaching Research

Projects designed to protect rare species such as the kakapo and the rowi kiwi, and others to help the fight against TB, diabetes and cancers with strong familial links, have all been supported by the expertise of New Zealand Genomics Limited (NZGL) over the past year. More »


With the support of NZGL, researchers were able to identify a virus in kiwi not previously known about and make significant progress in the push to sequence the genome of every kakapo - a vital step toward improving the species' survival prospects.

Human health research also made up a substantial part of the research (29% of all projects) the genomics infrastructure service provider was involved in, for example, helping sequence drug resistant TB to provide information that can be used to identify resistant strains more quickly.

In its 2016 annual report Chief Operating Officer Sandy Baines says since it was founded in 2010 NZGL has supported more than 1200 projects and 450 researchers through its data generation, bioinformatics services, Bio-IT computer analysis infrastructure and workforce development programmes.

Projects cover a wide range of science support - from helping design experiments through to data analysis, as well as the use of highly specialised equipment and Bio-IT platforms.

"While support for this niche market remains a focus, during 2016 NZGL moved towards building strategic alliances to enable future support for large-scale national and international cooperative initiatives. It is a natural step for NZGL to establish a national platform that can advance investment in, and use of, genomics across other government-funded sectors and private business," she says.

“NZGL is still relatively new to the sector, but within a short period of time it has built a national network of specialist people and infrastructure that enables the research community to deliver high quality outcomes for the benefit of New Zealand.”

NZGL's support services cover the entire science system from primary industry - such as agriculture and horticulture - to biosecurity, health and New Zealand's natural heritage resources.

New Zealand Genomics Ltd (NZGL) was established in 2010, and is co-funded, by the government (MBIE) and the University of Auckland, University of Otago, and Massey University, to provide DNA sequencing and analysis services to the New Zealand research community.

NZGL’s specialist expertise in genomics and bioinformatics analysis enables New Zealand scientists to achieve work of national and international importance.

MORE INFORMATION

About NZGL and annual report:
Sandy Baines, New Zealand Genomics Limited (NZGL)
Tel 03 4703495
Mob 027 2938090
Email: sandy.baines@nzgenomics.co.nz
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28 September 2016

How to clone a mammoth – ancient DNA scientist Beth Shapiro to visit New Zealand

Allan Wilson at Otago – a research group of evolutionary biology specialists at University of Otago - and NZ Genomics Ltd are sponsoring two free public talks by Professor Beth Shapiro, author of How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-extinction. They will be in Dunedin on Monday 10 October and Auckland on Wednesday 12 October. More »


Find all details and reserve seats at

https:// http://www.eventbrite.co.nz/e/how-to-clone-a-mammoth-dunedin-tickets-27478588197

https:// http://www.eventbrite.co.nz/e/how-to-clone-a-mammoth-auckland-tickets-27693391680

Professor Shapiro will answer the questions everyone wants to know: could extinct species, like mammoths and passenger pigeons, be brought back to life? Is it possible to clone extinct species using the same or similar technologies that created Dolly the sheep in the 1990s? What are the chances that the science fiction of “Jurassic Park” will someday become science fact?

Professor Shapiro will discuss the real science behind the emerging idea known as de-extinction - from deciding which species should be restored, to anticipating how revived populations might be overseen in the wild. What are the technical, ethical and ecological challenges of de-extinction, as well as its potential benefits? Is this the answer to saving our critically endangered species?

Professor Shapiro specializes in the genetics of ice age animals and plants. A pioneer in the scientific field called ancient DNA, Beth travels extensively in the Arctic regions of Alaska, Siberia and Canada, collecting bones and other remains of long-dead creatures including mammoths, giant bears, and extinct camels and horses.

Using DNA sequences extracted from these remains, she hopes to better understand how the distribution and abundance of species changed in response to major climate changes in the past, and why some species go extinct while others persist. The results could be used to help develop strategies for the conservation of species that are under threat from climate change today.

Director for Conservation of the University of California Santa Cruz Genomics Institute and Research Associate of the Denver Museum of Natural History, Professor Shapiro has been widely honored for her research. She has been named a Royal Society University Research Fellow, Searle Scholar, Packard Fellow, and a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. In 2009, she received a MacArthur “genius” award.

MORE INFORMATION

For more information about the public talks or to arrange an interview.
Glenda Lewis,
Creative Science Communications
Mob 027 210 0997
Email: glendajanelewis@gmail.com

For more information about Allan Wilson at Otago, http://www.otago.ac.nz
Professor Lisa Matisoo-Smith,
University of Otago
Mob 021 279 6827
Email: Lisa.matisoo-smith@otago.ac.nz

For more information about NZ Genomics Ltd, http://www.nzgenomics.co.nz,
or a Word copy of the media release.
Dayrel Williams,
New Zealand Genomics Limited (NZGL)
Mob 021643 277
Email: dayrel.williams@nzgenomics.co.nz
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27 May 2016

TV documentary series shows value of genomics to understand human behaviour and health

A four-part documentary series, ‘Why Am I?’, produced by Razor Films and screening on TV1 from Tuesday 31 May at 9.30pm (and also available on TVNZ OnDemand from 23rd May), highlights the findings from the Dunedin Study of 1037 people born there in 1972. More »

Each study member has been exhaustively interviewed, and tested every 2-6 years since then.  The findings, some of which seemed surprising at the time, have been verified by other studies and are now regarded as applying universally to humans everywhere, not just Dunedinites or New Zealanders.   A phenomenal 1500 academic papers have been published to date.

Risk of adverse life outcomes are predictable at a very young age given certain combinations of genetic susceptibility and circumstance. Professor Richie Poulton, leader of the research for the last 17 years, is science adviser to the Ministry of Social Development, and so in an ideal position to advise on opportunities for interventions. 

Spoiler alert. Here are some examples of key findings:

* The experiences of the child can accurately predict future health, wealth and happiness, for instance, a high-quality early childhood education can be a predictor of positive outcomes in later life
* Evidence of self-control as a child is a predictor of positive outcomes later in life
* Your personality type as a child can affect your health as an adult
* There is an elevated risk of psychosis (e.g. schizophrenia) associated with early and regular use of cannabis
* Your early experiences in life affect the pace of ageing and age-related disease
* It is possible to detect an indication of schizophrenia simply by looking at the size of blood vessels in the back of the eye
* Succeeding and growing out of childhood socioeconomic disadvantage by adulthood does not undo the damage caused by early adversity
* Mental health disorder is greatly under-reported suggesting that most of us will at some point in life suffer from an episode
* Young suicide attempters had by mid-life poor outcomes indicating overall that these young people needed additional help post their initial appearance at A&E

In the past decade, the Dunedin Study has taken the lead internationally in modelling how nature (our genes) interacts with nurture (our life experiences) to help predict why people behave the way they do. In perhaps the best known of these nature–nurture interplay studies, the Dunedin Study was able to show why certain people succumb to depression in the face of life stress, whereas others do not. This finding, along with several others, was voted to be the second most important scientific breakthrough in the world—in any branch of science—in 2003.

The documentary series has already sold to 20 territories representing over 60 countries and won a Silver medal at the New York Film and TV awards. Congratulations to Professor Richie Poulton, the research team, the research funders, Razor Films, and all involved in the documentary production.

New Zealanders and overseas audiences will be fascinated by the profound scientific insights this outstanding series gives us on what makes us who we are, what determines our life course and what government policy options might be considered to ensure that New Zealand remains a great place to live.

The Dunedin Longitudinal Study successfully combines a long-term relationship with participants to understand their life course circumstance and intersects this information with cutting edge technologies including use of genomic information. The study continues to be relevant to us. As the study members enter middle age there is every prospect of a better understanding of life style-associated chronic disease and the increasing burden that this represents to our health system and to that of many other nations around the world.

Richie Poulton, 021 479 850, richie.poulton@otago.ac.nz
Sandy Baines, 027 293 8090, sandy.baines@nzgenomics.co.nz

New Zealand Genomics Limited (NZGL) was established as a genomics infrastructure service provider to the New Zealand research community. NZGL is a co-investment and collaborative infrastructure, supported by the Crown (through the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, MBIE); University of Otago; Massey University and The University of Auckland.
http://www.nzgenomics.co.nz/

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11 March 2016

BBC4 SCIENCE PRESENTER AND GENETICIST, ADAM RUTHERFORD, TO CHAIR PUBLIC DISCUSSIONS ON GENETICS

Dr Adam Rutherford is visiting New Zealand to chair a series of public panel discussions on the burgeoning field of genetics which is going to affect all of us. He will be joined by New Zealand’s top scientists and thinkers in this area, at public events in Wellington (12 and 13 March), Christchurch (15 March), Dunedin (17 March), Tauranga (21 March) and Auckland (22 March). His first engagement is in Wellington, as guest of the Wellington International Festival Writers and Readers Week. More »

Details at http://www.royalsociety.org.nz/events/gene-genie/ The Gene Genie series will be recorded for broadcast by RNZ.

Background to the Gene Genie Series

The cost of gene sequencing is dropping even faster than Moore’s Law, halving every four months.  And the new technique of Massively Parallel Sequencing is vastly increasing the amount of genetic information that we can collect.  Soon, we’ll all have our DNA routinely sequenced and analysed for various characteristics. Paternity secrets will be impossible to keep!
 
Genomics is now the HOT research topic in biology and medicine, and promises much.  Even the genome of our closest relative, the Neanderthal, has now been sequenced. We know exactly which bits we have inherited from interbreeding with them, and what they code for, including Diabetes Type 2, Lupus, addictive behaviour, Crohn’s Disease, and on the plus side, stronger skin and hair.
 
Women with mutations in the BRCA 1 & 2 genes now have the chance to prevent breast and ovarian cancer.  New flu strains, and plant diseases such as PSA, which cost the country hundreds of millions of dollars, are quickly sequenced to find out what we’re dealing with and how they can be treated … speed is of the essence.  Using genomics, New Zealand researchers were able to track down the major source of campylobacter infected chicken, which was responsible for 40% of human infections.  A new study underway will identify the genes that predispose people to eat too much. 
 
It sounds like we already know a lot about our genetic make-up, but still, a large part of the human genome remains “dark matter”.  Our 21,000 genes constitute a mere 1.5% of our genome.  The rest is not redundant junk as previously thought, but includes the DNA that controls and determines which genes are switched on and off and orchestrates their behaviour. Breaking the WWII German Enigma Code is nothing to the bioinformatic challenge before us.  But it’s just a matter of time when thousands, if not tens of thousands, of scientists are working on the problem.

What potentials and challenges will this present us with when we inevitably decipher the genome? What will the implications be for health, agriculture, species restoration, justice, education, love, reproduction, and perhaps even human survival?

More information about Dr Adam Rutherford

As the presenter of the BBC flagship science show Inside Science, Dr Adam Rutherford has explored responses to some of our world’s most pressing scientific questions. His academic background is in genetics and evolutionary biology, and his book Creation: The Origin of Life/The Future of Life was shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize.

Rutherford, a long-time editor of Nature magazine, has created several TV series and has been a science advisor on Björk’s movie Biophilia Live, World War Z, Ex Machina and the kids’ cartoon The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That. He has appeared in several science documentaries, and, along with Richard Dawkins (also a guest at the New Zealand Festival’s Writers Week), contributed to the book The Atheist's Guide to Christmas.

Adam’s tour is co-organised by:
Royal Society of New Zealand, Creative Science Communications and the New Zealand Festival Writers and Readers Week

Adam’s tour is co-sponsored by:
Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies, Genetics Otago, The MedTech CoRE, NZ Genomics Ltd and Te Pūnaha Matatini

For further information, please contact Glenda Lewis, Creative Science Communications, glendajanelewis@gmail.com, 027 210 0997 or Faith Atkins, Royal Society of New Zealand, faith.atkins@royalsociety.org.nz 021 1778 779

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11 March 2016

Crowd-funding Project to Sequence ALL 125 plus Kākāpō Genomes

A public fundraising project to finance the DNA sequencing of every living kākāpō is close to its target of US$45K (~68,000 NZD). It is the vision of Department of Conservation scientist Dr Andrew Digby and has been made possible by funding from The Genetic Rescue Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation founded by Kiwi tech entrepreneur, David Iorns. More »


Understanding fertility and disease resistance at a molecular or genetic level is considered vital to growing the fragile population of 125 plus kākāpō. The ‘plus’ refers to the hatchlings currently being nurtured by the dedicated Department of Conservation Kākāpō Recovery Team on Whenua Hou/Codfish Island, Anchor Island, and Hauturu-o-Toi/Little Barrier Island. The breeding season is still in progress.

A project that would have cost millions, if not billions, of dollars just 20 years ago, is now the same price as a new SUV and involves a comparatively routine lab process. The DNA sequencing and bioinformatics - the not so routine skills of identifying the genes involved in various physiological processes, and the differences among individuals and species - will be carried out by New Zealand Genomics Ltd. Chief Operating Officer Sandy Baines said the NZGL national team spread across the University of Otago, Massey University and the University of Auckland is excited to have won such an important contract, and to have the work on this remarkable native species done here in New Zealand.

Sequencing the genomes (a genome refers to the entire DNA sequence of any individual) of every living individual in a species is a world-first. This, and the conservation hopes it carries with it, will be celebrated at an event at Zealandia Sanctuary in Wellington on Monday 14 March at 5.30pm. Zealandia Sanctuary is where the famous @Spokesbird Sirocco – seen by nearly 7 million YouTube viewers ‘interacting’ with UK Zoologist Mark Cawardine – has spent several weeks over the years in his role as an ambassador for his species.

Guest speakers will be Minister of Business, Innovation and Employment, Hon. Steven Joyce, and visiting geneticist Adam Rutherford, presenter of the BBC4 programme Inside Science. It is expected that by then most of the money required will have been raised from donors in New Zealand and overseas – particularly the United States and United Kingdom.

A genomics approach to kākāpō conservation will be a great boost to the recovery programme, says Associate Professor Bruce Robertson of University of Otago. It will help the Kākāpō Recovery Team to develop successful breeding strategies. “We will be able to explore the genetic basis of infertility in kākāpō. Only 60% of eggs hatch compared to about 90% in other birds. Sperm abnormalities contribute to infertility.”

“As well as being of considerable significance to kākāpō conservation, the Kākāpō 125 Project will make an important contribution to the emerging field of Conservation Genomics. Our project will provide a genome dataset for every member of an entire species, serving as a much needed case study. Only with studies such as ours will Conservation Genomics’ true potential be realised.”

Adam Rutherford is touring New Zealand 12-22 March, chairing a series of panel discussions on various aspects of genetics and genomics, from ancient DNA and conservation genomics, to genealogy. Details of his tour around Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Tauranga and Auckland are at http://www.royalsociety.org.nz/events/gene-genie/

Adam’s visit is sponsored by NZ Genomics Ltd, Genetics Otago, Royal Society of New Zealand, Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies, MedTech CoRE, and Te Pūnaha Matatini.

New Zealand Genomics Limited (NZGL) was established as a genomics infrastructure service provider to the New Zealand research community. NZGL is a co-investment and collaborative infrastructure, supported by the Crown (through the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, MBIE); University of Otago; Massey University and The University of Auckland. It is funded by co-investment from the Crown ($40.6m) and the three university collaborators ($29.3m).

MORE INFORMATION

Glenda Lewis
Principal
Creative Science Communications
Mob: 027 210 0997
Email: glendajanelewis@gmail.com

Associate Professor Bruce C Robertson
Department of Zoology | Te Tari Matāi Kararehe
University of Otago |Te Whare Wānanga o Otāgo
Tel: 03 479 4110
Mob: 021 279 4110
Email: bruce.robertson@otago.ac.nz

Dr Andrew Digby
Science Advisor Kākāpō/Takahē - Kaitohutohu Pūtaiao Kākāpō/Takahē
Department of Conservation - Te Papa Atawhai
Mob (until Sunday 13 March): 027 399 3339
Mob (from Monday 14 March): 021 183 5852
Email: adigby@doc.govt.nz

Sandy Baines
Chief Operating Officer
New Zealand Genomics Limited (NZGL)
Tel 03 470 3495
Mob 021 0223 8591
Email: sandy.baines@nzgenomics.co.nz

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22 December 2015

NZGL Christmas 2015/New Year 2016 opening and closing dates

We would like to advise our valued clients that the NZGL Office and the NZGL - Otago, Massey and Auckland genomics and bioinformatics facilities will be closed for a short break over the Christmas and New Year period. More »


NZGL Christmas/New Year Closing Information

The NZGL Office will close at 5pm on Wednesday 23 December 2015.
The NZGL Office will be accepting new project enquiries for 2015 until our closing date.
The NZGL Office will reopen on Monday 11 January 2016.

The NZGL Otago and Massey facilities will close for a break over the Christmas and New Year period on Friday 18 December 2015.
The NZGL Auckland facility will close for a break over the Christmas and New Year period on Tuesday 22 December 2015.

NZGL facilities at Otago and Massey will reopen on Monday 6 January 2016.
The NZGL facility at Auckland will reopen on Monday 11 January 2016.

To our Bio-IT users - if you require Support/Helpdesk services over the close down period please call our office number 03 470 3543.

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7 September 2015

Continued Growth for New Zealand Genomics Limited

Genomics infrastructure service provider New Zealand Genomics Limited (NZGL) has again increased the number and range of research projects it is involved with. More »


Projects NZGL is involved in range from helping researchers investigate the potential for using light-emitting proteins in glow-worms as markers in biomedical research, to sequencing the genomes of the Poor Knights giant weta and the common stick insect to help conservationists make population decisions into the future. NZGL is also providing genomics sequencing services and specialist analysis skills to assist research into Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia currently affects an estimated 53,000 New Zealanders and that is predicted to triple to 150,000 by 2050.

NZGL was established in 2010 to provide New Zealand scientists with an integrated suite of genomic services involving gene sequencing, bioinformatics and genomics appropriate IT. Its just released 2015 Impacts and Outcomes Report shows service turnover has increased to $3.0m - up from $2.51m last year - and the number of projects NZGL has provided service delivery on has risen to 281, from 252 in 2014. A PDF copy of the report is available online NZGL-ImpactsOutcomes-2015

Chief Executive Tony Lough says service utilisation and depth continues to grow, and the volume of enquiries they are getting from researchers is also 5% greater than the same period in 2014.

"Our value to the sector ensures support for a wide variety of projects that might not otherwise be possible, due to scale, affordability and inability to access the required resources. NZGL regularly assists New Zealand researchers with small niche projects that would be unattractive to large overseas commercial providers. Currently 87% of our total annual projects - fall into this niche category. These projects in particular benefit from centralised access to expertise."

Dr Lough says NZGL offers researchers a suite of end-to-end services, ranging from support during experimental design, sequencing and other genomic data generation, through to bioinformatics analysis and computer and software resources designed for genomic data.

"As well as those niche projects, we provide genomics support services and a range of applications across the entire science system from primary industry - such as agriculture and horticulture - to biosecurity, health and New Zealand's natural heritage resources. We are working with key research organisations to develop new tools which allow for faster and cheaper DNA analysis that will improve productivity in the primary sector, for example through breeding choices."

Since inception, NZGL has also developed human capital through the provision of services to a client base of 800 researchers from the university sector (69%); CRIs (24%) and private companies, biotechnology companies or health agencies (7%). Additionally, in 2015 NZGL delivered 32 genomics workshops and seminars to inform and upskill researchers across New Zealand.

Dr Lough says as signalled last year NZGL is increasing the use of common Bio-IT data analysis platforms and bioinformatics analysis expertise, provided through the collaborator and partnership networks. This is achieved by entering into bulk contracts with key practitioners in research organisations and in industry to optimise their contributed value to the New Zealand economy.

"In 2015 and onward, NZGL will further expand its national reach by leveraging the strengths of its partners to provide leading edge Bio-IT and joint service arrangements. This will allow researchers the flexibility to access the specialist resources they need irrespective of location, project scale or entity supporting services behind the scenes."

New Zealand Genomics Limited (NZGL) was established as a genomics infrastructure service provider to the New Zealand research community. NZGL is a co-investment and collaborative infrastructure, supported by the Crown (through the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, MBIE); University of Otago; Massey University and The University of Auckland. It is funded by co-investment from the Crown ($40.6m) and the three university collaborators ($29.3m).

MORE INFORMATION

Dr Tony Lough, New Zealand Genomics Limited (NZGL)
Tel 03 470 3495
Mob 021 0223 8591
Email: tony.lough@nzgenomics.co.nz

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2 September 2015

New partnership to provide data firepower for NZ’s future

New Zealand’s two major science computer providers are to form an alliance that will benefit New Zealand science researchers across Universities and Crown Research Institutes. More »


The New Zealand eScience Infrastructure (NeSI), hosted by the University of Auckland, and New Zealand Genomics Ltd (NZGL), based at the University of Otago, will combine forces to provide the most powerful computing environment for science research in New Zealand.

“To have impact in the 21st Century, researchers must be able to approach larger scale and more complex questions through the power of computational and analytical techniques,” says NeSI Director Nick Jones.

“We’re drawing together our resources so that researchers can tame big data and respond to some of our hardest research challenges.”

Where scientists once worked almost exclusively in a laboratory, these days much of their work is done by computer analysis and computer modelling which is not only faster but cheaper, particularly for early-stage research.

Diagnostic approaches to disease are increasingly informed by huge range of gene sequencing techniques, but these massive data sets require significant computer firepower.

“The new alliance will make available genomics expertise and computing capacity for the wide spectrum of projects active across the research system. For example, identifying new genotypes to help New Zealand’s primary industry, identifying genomic markers so that invasive pests such as fruit fly can be more easily identified, and providing water quality testing that is simpler and more accurate” says NZGL chief executive Dr Tony Lough.

“Imagine a world where every newborn baby had their genome sequenced at birth and that data was available to that person for use throughout their lifetime. This would, for example, help health professionals to understand that person's predisposition to disease or inform what drugs to prescribe,”

“We really are moving into a new world where big data is going to impact many aspects of our lives and through this collaboration, New Zealand science will benefit across the board and allow us to compete with the rest of the world.”

The partnership will provide genomics expertise and a computing platform for the Government’s National Science Challenges – the multimillion dollar funding initiative that sees the country’s scientists collaborating across key research areas including land and water, nutrition, earthquake resilience, biodiversity, ageing and marine science.

For more information contact:
Tony Lough, CEO, New Zealand Genomics Limited, Mobile: + 64 (0) 21 0223 8591
http://www.nzgenomics.co.nz

Nick Jones, Director, National eScience Infrastructure, Mobile: + 64 (0) 21 609 535
http://www.nesi.org.nz

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A COLLABORATION OF:

WITH THE SUPPORT OF:

Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment