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Upcoming events hosted by or involving Genetics Otago will be listed here. Please check back regularly for updates. A calendar of events that may be of interest to our members can be found at the bottom of this page and in the sidebar of other pages on this site, please note that this includes events hosted outside of Genetics Otago.

Quantitative Genetics uses statistical methods to understand the complexities of genetic inheritance, and can be applied in human medicine, population genetics and for selective breeding of plants and animals. So Quantitative Genetics is key in improving New Zealand’s primary sector productivity and profitability as well as for understanding the genetic basis of a very wide range of diseases.

Date: 9th February 2021
Time: 9:30 am – 5:30 pm
Location: Mellor Laboratories Seminar Room 2.15

Who is this symposium for?

This one-day symposium will bring together researchers from a wide range of applications of quantitative genetics in the Otago region (including collaborations), such as

  • Genetic improvement for primary industries, e.g., horticulture, viticulture, forestry, or farming.
  • Biomedical and forensic research, where quantitative genetics is used extensively in research and forensic applications, and increasingly for medical diagnostics and interventions.
  • Conservation and biosecurity sectors, particularly for the management of rare and/or endangered species, and for utilisation of host resistance for post-border responses to biosecurity threats.

Keynote Speaker

The symposium coincides with a visit by Professor Bruce Weir (University of Washington) to the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, a well-known world authority on statistical genetics. 

Quantifying inbreeding depression and heritability

Quantitative Genetics theory predicts levels of inbreeding depression and heritability in terms of measures of inbreeding and relatedness. Initially those measures were calculated from pedigrees or breeding designs, but genetic marker data now enables their actual values to be estimated. Whenever data from a set of individuals are used to estimate individual-specific measures, however, there are confounding effects from the relatedness levels among all members of the set. Such estimates can alter the rankings for inbreeding levels among individuals, for example, and invalidate inbreeding depression results. Heritability estimates, on the other hand, seem robust to the choice of inbreeding estimators.
We show the utility of estimators based on allele sharing within and among individuals or populations and we emphasize that probabilities of identity by descent are estimated on a SNP by SNP basis only relative to probabilities for a specified set of individuals. We illustrate the performance of these estimators, and contrast it with other estimators in current use, with whole-genome variant data from the 1000 Genomes project. We find that, along with the inbreeding coefficient for an individual, the average of its kinship values with other members of a study sample is of central importance.

Registration and Abstract Guidelines:
Registration for this event is free and is now open, please register using the button below. Registration will close on 1st February 2021.

Abstract submission is completed as part of the registration process. You are able to register and add your abstract later – please keep the link provided at the end of the registration process to do this. Abstract submissions close on 26th January 2021.

Please note that all abstracts are to be submitted online only.

Abstracts submitted must be original and not presented or published elsewhere. They should be no more than 300 words in length.

Selection of abstracts will be made at the discretion of the abstract committee based upon (a) relevance and contribution to quantitative genetics; and (b) diversity among presenters.

We anticipate that presentations will be 15 mins including discussion time, but will confirm this once we have some idea of interest. Posters are not anticipated at this stage but may be added if there is sufficient interest.

Register Here

Zoom Details
Please email us if you require a Zoom connection.

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An Audience With…

Our ‘An Audience With…’ series is aimed at our postgraduate students (but early career researchers are also welcome to attend) and will provide the opportunity for discussion with experts in their field. As catering will be provided we ask that you please register using the link below if you plan on attending.

Next Speakers TBC

Date: 5th March 2021
Time: 9am
Location: Health Science Divisional Boardroom, 4th Floor Physiotherapy Building, Great King Street

Registration for this event will open closer to the date, please check back later

Zoom Details
Please email us if you require a Zoom connection.

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Postgrad Writing Mornings

Open to all postgrads working on genetics (you do not need to be enrolled as a GENE major). These are very informal sessions to get together and get some writing done on your thesis or a paper, to have a chat with other students and have a cuppa.

Date: First friday of every month (starting February 2021)
Time: 9am – 12 noon
Location: Genetics Meeting Room, G12 Biochemistry Building

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IPL – Professor Julia Horsfield

Unfortunately, this lecture has been postponed due to the level 2 restrictions currently in place. Watch this space for updates.

The circle of life: connecting cell division with cell fate

Julia’s current research originates from her fascination with how cells ‘decide’ what they are going to be in a growing, developing embryo. At the University of Otago, Julia started working on Cohesin, a protein that connects cell division with cell fate decisions. Cohesin controls chromosome segregation during cell division, and it also organises the DNA of non-dividing cells to select genes for expression. Using zebrafish, Julia’s group determined how mutation of Cohesin contributes to human developmental disorders, the “Cohesinopathies”.

Her group also studies how genes first come to be switched on in the embryo by Cohesin-mediated chromatin structure. She was the first to show that mutations in Cohesin may be linked with leukaemia; a finding later confirmed by cancer genome sequencing projects. Her recent work focuses on the mechanism of Cohesin’s contribution to leukaemia, including the sensitivity of Cohesin-mutant cancers to specific drugs.

This lecture will be followed by light refreshments, tea, coffee & juice.

Date: TBC
Time: TBC
Location: Archway 1 Lecture Theatre, Union St East. This event will also be live-streamed, from 5:25pm Tuesday 8 September 2020, here. Please note: Live streaming does not work with Internet Explorer.

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1:00 pm RSNZ Marsden Fast-Start Seminar @ Room G10, Pacific Islands Support Unit building
RSNZ Marsden Fast-Start Seminar @ Room G10, Pacific Islands Support Unit building
Dec 1 @ 1:00 pm – 1:45 pm
The Health Sciences’ Divisional Research Committee is holding a presentation where we will discuss proposal format (EoI and Full), application faults and what the panel is looking for. Current grant holders will also be present to share their experiences. Zoom[...]