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Newsletter – April 2009

Term 2 has begun, and we’ve published some brand new teaching resources aimed at secondary schools. These resources showcase research into evolved enzymes at Victoria University in Wellington. In this research, evolution is mimicked in the lab in order to make novel enzymes for cancer treatment.

What's new on the Hub?

Our new Evolved enzymes focus story showcases research in David Ackerley’s lab at Victoria University in Wellington. Scientists at the university are using a technique called directed evolution to make new enzymes for cancer treatment.

Evolved enzymes – Focus story
The Evolved Enzymes Focus Story provides a unique way of exploring selective breeding and evolution with your students. The research is described in information sheets, images, video clips and animations.

Factors that influence evolution – Information sheet
Evolution is a process of gradual change in the traits of a population that occur over many generations. Three key factors that drive evolution are described here.

Directed evolution makes useful enzymes – Information sheet
Directed evolution can be used to make enzymes with new or improved functions. Here, we describe some of the uses of these enzymes.

Directed evolution – Animation
Watch the steps involved in directed evolution in the lab. In New Zealand, directed evolution is being used to make new enzymes to help treat cancer.

Evolved enzymes video gallery – Video clips
Check out our interview with directed evolution researcher Dr David Ackerley.

Teaching activities

Q&A: Directed evolution and cancer therapy - Worksheet
A worksheet on directed evolution for senior secondary (year 13) students.

Latest biotech news

Keep up to date with the latest biotechnology news, events and radio broadcasts.

New research into healing powers of poroporo – News item
The genetic diversity and population dynamics of the poroporo plant will be investigated as part of a new research project.

Kiwis help Tongans build biogas reactors – News item
Tongan farmers have two new reactors to produce biogas from waste, thanks to Kiwi engineers.

Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday anniversary – Radio New Zealand audio
Darwin’s theories are discussed by current leading evolutionists in this broadcast from Radio New Zealand’s Our Changing World programme. This interview is part of the celebrations for the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth.
Audio duration: 46’05”

More news and events

We welcome your ideas

Email us at enquiries@biotechlearn.org.nz if you have any questions about the Hub, or complete our online feedback form.

Best wishes,
Dr Diane Dinnis, Project Manager
New Zealand Biotechnology Learning Hub
www.biotechlearn.org.nz

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