Open Source win for AgResearch scientist

AgResearch senior research scientist Rob Elshire

AgResearch senior research scientist Rob Elshire has won the People’s Choice award at the New Zealand Open Source awards for his contributions to science and agriculture through genotyping by sequencing (GBS).

His work aims to advance the contribution of genetic research to the New Zealand economy, and he has been conducting workshops to teach scientists from across the country state of the art DNA analysis technologies.

The award was announced last night at a ceremony at Te Papa in Wellington.

He developed the GBS technology as an open source platform when he was at Cornell University in the United States and joined AgResearch in Palmerston North last year.

GBS provides a means to rapidly develop, in a cost-effective way, high-density genetic marker systems for a variety of end uses.

“We want to develop the infrastructure and skills in New Zealand necessary to take advantage of low cost DNA sequencing platforms, which will mean we can then use the latest research tools to better answer biological research questions of particular interest to New Zealand,” says Mr Elshire.

“For example, it can be used to reduce cost and increase efficiency in New Zealand’s sheep breeding programmes. And it is currently being used in a variety of breeding programme at across CRIs.”

The workshops have been attended by molecular biologists, geneticists and bioinformaticians from universities, other Crown Research Institutes and private companies attending. Mr. Elshire’s research is supported by a Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment and Dairy NZ co-funded project that represents one of the most comprehensive experimental genomics programmes ever carried out in New Zealand.

More can be read about his work here and a recent presentation is here.

The New Zealand Open Source awards are a biennial event to promote, recognise and celebrate the contributions of New Zealanders to free and open source projects and free and open source philosophy.