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This Sheep makes a Good Egg

Find out how on Thursday night


The Royal Society of New Zealand have another fascinating topic to share with Palmerstonians of the North this Thursday night, in the form of reproductive biologist Professor Ken McNatty and his ground-breaking fertility research. “It all started with a phone call from an Akaroa farmer, whose sheep kept on having triplets”, says Professor McNatty. “From this one highly-fertile sheep, we developed a very fertile herd. This led to the fundamental realisation that eggs control their own environment, determining offspring numbers and even keeping a check on ovarian cancer, ”says Professor McNatty.

Professor McNatty, who works at the School of Biological Sciences at Victoria University of Wellington has spent his career looking at how genetics and the environment affect female fertility in mammals, including humans. “This particular research has led to a new technique which helps humans. By measuring a few key genes in the discarded cells next to IVF fertilised eggs, the best eggs can be chosen for implantation, dramatically increasing fertility clinic success rates. In the future, these new insights may also help limit reproduction in mammalian pests such as wild deer, wild dogs or even possums,” says Professor McNatty.

‘What makes a good egg?’ is part of the Ten by Ten series celebrating 20 years of the Marsden Fund, New Zealand’s premier investigator-led research fund. The series gives the public a chance to come and listen to New Zealand researchers talking about how their Marsden-funded research is making a difference to New Zealand.

‘What makes a good egg?’ is one of our featured events at the Central Library at 7.30pm Thursday 6 November 2014. Entry is free, but places are limited. Tickets can be booked at

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