Gregor Johann Mendel (July 20, 1822 – January 6, 1884) was an Austrian scientist and Augustinian friar who gained posthumous fame as the founder of the new science of genetics. Mendel demonstrated that the inheritance of certain traits in pea plants follows particular patterns, now referred to as the laws of Mendelian inheritance. Although the significance of Mendel’s work was not recognized until the turn of the 20th century, the independent rediscovery of these laws formed the foundation of the modern science of genetics.
Science Group Leader for Plant & Food Research’s Genomics Group, Dr Roger Hellens, is closer than most to the work of Gregor Mendel. His research has helped discover the molecular keys to biology’s most well-known experiments, most recently the gene that controls pea flower colour from Mendel’s initial studies of inheritance.
Posted by Mike on July 20, 2012
Much of the food we eat every day relies on pollination services provided by honeybees.
But honeybees are in a bit of strife these days – in New Zealand, varroa mite is having a huge impact on hive productivity, and the mites have developed resistance to two of the three chemicals used to control them.
However our pollination scientists are looking at whether or not bumblebees could also be recruited to pollinate flowers in commercial orchards. There are four introduced species of bumblebee in New Zealand, with Bombus terrestris being the most important pollinator. Radio New Zealand’s Alison Ballance recently visited our Ruakura site, near Hamilton, and met David Pattemore, to find out about our new project involving radio-tracking wild bumblebee queens in avocado orchards to find out what kinds of nests they prefer, and installing artificial hives (pictured above) that they hope will attract bumblebee colonies and provide a way of allowing growers to monitor bumblebee numbers on their properties.
While honeybees will remain the main pollinators, this research may allow bumblebees to become an important contributor.
Click here to hear the Radio New Zealand Podcast.
Posted by Mike on July 2, 2012
Between 2003 and 2011 Plant & Food Research, in partnership with the Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC), Department of Livestock Services (DLS), Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, with financial support from The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (UN-FAO) and the NZ Aid Programme of MFAT, has been involved in a programme designed to develop sustainable animal fodder systems for improving household incomes in Nepal.
The goal of the project was to build technical capacity and familiarisation with fodder technology packages for on-farm winter and summer fodder crop production in order to alleviate poverty and improve rural livelihoods in six geographically distinct districts of Nepal, as our latest video below explains.
Posted by Mike on June 11, 2012
Posted by Mike on June 5, 2012