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Latest University of Otago Stories

2014-04-08 10:58:47

New insights into a surprisingly flexible immune system present in bacteria for combating viruses and other foreign DNA invaders have been revealed by researchers from New Zealand's University of Otago and the Netherlands. A team led by Dr Peter Fineran of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology are studying the genetic basis of adaptive immunity in bacteria that cause potato 'soft rot' and in E. coli bacteria. Through their recent collaboration they have found that these bacterial...

2014-04-07 16:06:35

The visibility of smoking in city streets has for the first time anywhere been mapped, in new research from the University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand. The research found that up to 116 smokers outside bars/cafés could be seen from any one location in the outdoor public areas of downtown Wellington (e.g. on a footpath). Of 2600 people observed in the outdoor areas of bars and cafés, 16% were smoking, with a higher proportion than this in evenings. Data from observations across...

2014-03-04 16:23:09

Researchers at New Zealand's University of Otago are helping to clear up an enduring mystery regarding the composition of the Earth's atmosphere. They have discovered the microbial soil processes that help ensure that the explosive gas hydrogen remains at trace levels. In recent decades it was found that around four-fifths of all hydrogen released into the air is rapidly removed through soil activity, but exactly what is recycling it, and how, has remained unclear. Now, Otago scientists...

2013-12-03 13:39:36

New research from New Zealand will help to breed new onions tailored to grow in specific conditions. Onions, the third largest vegetable crop in the world, form a bulb in response to lengthening days, however the molecular mechanisms controlling this response were not previously known. Research undertaken by Plant & Food Research and the University of Otago has identified the gene controlling bulb development, the first step in discovering genetic markers that can be used as tools to...

2012-05-09 14:17:23

First radiocarbon dates for unusual jar and log coffin interments on exposed ledges Researchers from the University of Otago in New Zealand working in remote Cambodian mountains are shedding new light on the lost history of an unidentified people by studying their enigmatic burial rituals. The Otago researchers have now provided the first radiocarbon dates for unusual jar and log coffin interments on exposed ledges high in southern Cambodia's rugged Cardamom Mountains. Since 2003, they...

Giant Fossil Penguin From New Zealand Reconstructed
2012-02-28 08:07:11

Scientists on Tuesday published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology their work on a completely reconstructed fossil of a giant penguin that lived in New Zealand some 25 million years ago, work that will give researchers insight into prehistoric penguin diversity. The fossil of the Kairuku -- Maori for “diver that returns with food” -- penguin, a bird that stood 4 feet 2 inches tall, was discovered embedded in a cliff at Waimate in the South Island in 1977 by Dr. Ewan...

Image 1 - Pigeons Have Numerical Abilities Just Like Primates
2011-12-23 09:21:47

Researchers at University of Otago in New Zealand have found that pigeons are able to learn abstract rules about numbers, an ability that until now had been demonstrated only in primates. Scientists had trained rhesus monkeys in the 1990s to look at groups of items on a screen and rank them from lowest number of items to highest. It has already been known that pigeons know how to count, just like many other animals, including bees and other species of birds. In a study, published in the...

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2010-10-15 13:32:21

A study released on Friday stated that alcohol is cheaper than bottled water in New Zealand. Researchers at the Otago University found that wine cost as little as 62 cents per standard drink, compared to 67 cents for 250ml of bottle water and 43 cents for the equivalent amount of milk. The study found that the relative price of alcohol plummeted over the past decade as average wages increased. "Our analysis suggests alcohol is now probably the cheapest recreational drug in New Zealand and...


Word of the Day
vermicular
  • Like a worm in form or movement; vermiform; tortuous or sinuous; also, writhing or wriggling.
  • Like the track or trace of a worm; appearing as if worm-eaten; vermiculate.
  • Marked with fine, close-set, wavy or tortuous lines of color; vermiculated.
  • A form of rusticated masonry which is so wrought as to appear thickly indented with worm-tracks.
This word ultimately comes from the Latin 'vermis,' worm.
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