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Australasian honour for Otago geneticist

Monday, 14 July 2014 8:08am

Peter Dearden image
Associate Professor Peter Dearden, who has won the Genetics Society of AustralAsia Ross Crozier Medal for outstanding contributions to genetics for his work on social insects such as bees.

Genetics Otago Director Associate Professor Peter Dearden has won the Genetics Society of AustralAsia Ross Crozier Medal for outstanding contributions to genetics.

Associate Professor Dearden, who is currently on sabbatical in New York says he is thrilled to win the medal, which recognises his work on Evolution and Development, Epigenetics and Developmental plasticity.

“I’m extremely delighted to receive this award, particularly being a New Zealander getting an award from an Australasian society. And particularly because it’s in the name of Ross Crozier, who did fantastic work in social insects which is a field I work in as well.”

Ross Crozier was a pioneer in the study of genetics in social insects, who passed away in 2009.

Social insects, such as ants and bees, provide a platform for research into how the genetics on an animal is affected by the environment. For example, the differences between queen and worker bees are triggered by what they eat when they are larvae.

Associate Professor Dearden’s work looks at how the environment influences the genes of social insects, and the implications this has for human and animal health.