Sandy the purebred desert dingo, pictured as a pup soon after her 2014 rescue, is a “gift to science”. Photo: Barry EggletonAnn”gift to science” has been named the winner of a global competition.
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Sandy thepurebred desert dingo beat four international finalists to take first place in the World’s Most Interesting Genome Competition.

The win will give n scientists the opportunity to decode her DNAandtest a hypothesis raised by Charles Darwinalmost 150 years ago.

The public determined the winner of the annual competition.Sandy edged out a TemplePitvipersnake, a solar-powered sea slug, an explosive bombardier beetleand a pink pigeon to claim 41 per cent of votes. Up for grabs was thePacific BiosciencesSMRTGrant, whichenables sequencing of thecomplete genome of an important animal or plant.

The proposal to study Sandy’s DNAwas led by Professor Bill Ballard from the University of NSW, with Professor Claire Wade of the University of Sydney, Dr Richard Melvin of UNSW, Dr RobertZammitof the Vineyard Veterinary Hospital and Dr AndreMinocheof the Garvan Institute of Medical Research also part of the project.

The sequencing will be carriedout at the Universityof Arizona.

“We are thrilled that our bid to have Sandy’s DNA sequenced captured the public’s imagination,” Professor Ballard, from UNSW’sSchool of Biotechnology andBiomolecularSciences, said.

Professor Ballard has previously saidDarwintheorisedthat there are two stepsto the process of domestication:unconscious selection, as a result of non-intentional human influences, and artificial selection, through deliberate human activities such as breeding.

Sequencing Sandy’s DNA will allow scientists to examine the changes in genesassociated with the process of domestication.

“Sandy is truly agift to science,” Professor Ballard said. “As a rare, wild-born pure dingo, she provides a unique case study. Pure dingoes are intermediate between wild wolves and domestic dogs, with a range of non-domesticated traits. So sequencing Sandy’s genome will help pinpoint some of the genes for temperament and behaviour that underlie the transition from wild animals to perfect pets.”

Professor Ballard added that “learning more about dingo genetics will help efforts to conserve these wonderful n animals, through the development of improved tests for dingo purity”.

Sandy and her siblings, Eggie and Didi, were three weeks old when they were found motherless near the Strzelecki Trackin central in2014 by Barry and Lyn Eggleton, who raised the pups themselves.

Purebred desert dingoes are increasingly rare in as the native animalsinterbreed with wild and domesticdogs andare targeted as pests by landholders.

Scientists at the UNSW’sRamaciotti Centre for Genomics haveworked on the genomes of other important native species including the koala, the Tasmanian devil, the wombat, the platypus, the Queensland fruit fly and the Wollemi Pine.

“We’re very proud of UNSW’s history of contribution to genomics and we are delighted that Sandy’s genome will now be sequenced as the prize for winning this competition,” UNSW molecular biologist and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education), Professor Merlin Crossley, said.

” has so many interesting animals to sequence and the results enhance our understanding of evolution and biology and help improve agriculture and pest management.”

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Community resistance is impacting the supply of affordable housing, experts sayHere’s what an affordable housing tenant actually looks likeComment: No quick-fix for affordable housing, as renters become the focus
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Is there anybody in the housing industry who is more interested in doing what it says on their tin – housing people – than making money regardless of the social costs?

While politicians view the twin issues of affordable housing and negative gearing as threats to both their seats and their sanity, public housing projects, which in any sane democracy would be at least part of the answer, are viewed as close to communism in these free market days.

But they shouldn’t be, and I don’t mean housing commissions. What if the government provided the land, planning permission or tax breaks to developers in exchange for prices based on cost-plus rather than sky’s-the-limit potential profits?

They could also trade off lower costs with restrictions on investors’ ability to “flip” the property for the first, say, five years, and set the rents at a sensible level, with leases of at least three years.

Would we be living in North Korea? I don’t think so but it ain’t gonna happen, even if we are already subsidising property developers and investors through the tax system.

However, surely in this clever country of ours we can think of an ethical alternative into which we can put our money and which is exactly where tax breaks should be going.

Actually, there is. The Melbourne-based Nightingale Project is an architect-driven model for apartment block development with affordability and sustainability at its core.

With three projects on the go in the Victorian capital, its aims include capped profits, reduced operating and maintenance costs, removal of extraneous expenses like marketing, covenants on resales to ensure affordability is passed on, and transparent project costs for investors and purchasers.

Closer to home, City of Sydney is offering grants of up to $10 million to affordable and diversity-friendly housing projects.

And they have recently received an application for a residential and commercial project based on the Nightingale model from housing co-op provider Common Equity NSW .

Housing co-ops are a terrific idea. They provide low-cost rentals for like-minded tenants who would qualify for social housing anyway. Their rent is 25 per cent of their income plus whatever they get in rent assistance from the government.

But there’s a trade-off. They must be prepared to get involved in the running of their schemes, and even decide between applicants for any vacancies.

The problem is there are just over 30 schemes in the state and there is no opportunity for private investors to get involved.

Would ordinary investors buy into residential projects where their incomes were more modest but guaranteed and they were denied their spin on the roulette wheel of the property boom?

Maybe. Last year, the Responsible Investment Association of reported that more than $600 billion was invested in “ethical” funds.

So perhaps ethical property investment isn’t just an answer to the affordability problem – it represents a huge gap in the market.

Would you invest in ethical property? Write to [email protected]苏州夜总会招聘.au and there are links to all the above projects on flat-chat苏州夜总会招聘.au.

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Racing Victoria is seeking leave to mount a Supreme Court appeal after its cobalt doping case against top trainers Danny O’Brien and Mark Kavanagh collapsed at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal (VCAT) last month.
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The club on Thursday submitted an application to the Court of Appeal seeking leave to appeal to the Victorian Supreme Court against VCAT Judge Greg Garde’s March 17 decision to clear O’Brien and Kavanagh over positive tests for cobalt in horses they trained.

The VCAT hearing was itself an appeal by the trainers against their disqualification last last year by the Racing And Disciplinary board, which banned O’Brien for four years and Kavanagh for three years

Justice Garde found Racing Victoria’s process for cobalt testing had “substantially departed” from the Rules of Racing and he had no alternative but to throw the case out.

The trainers had argued that their veterinarian, Tom Brennan, administered the cobalt without their knowledge.

RV is seeking leave to appeal on the proper interpretation of the Rules of Racing with regard to drug testing and for the interpretation of “cause” to determine “the appropriate level of responsibility of the licensed trainers for the management of their horses and their service providers”.

RV Acting Chief Executive, Giles Thompson, said the fundamental role of RV was to protect both the integrity of thoroughbred racing in Victoria and the welfare of horses.

“Racing Victoria must pursue its core focus of the protection of the integrity of our sport and welfare of our horses. We believe it is appropriate that Racing Victoria seeks an appeal of VCAT’s decision,” Mr Thompson said.

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Fun: St Nicholas Early Education teachers Karen Mepham and Kate Berry with Hugo Gray 19 months, Jackson Adams 23 months, Harrison Cooper 3. Picture: Marina NeilTHE Hunter could face an oversupply of childcare centres that may lead some to close, according to the n Childcare Alliance, which is calling for a planning systemtopreventsupply exceeding demand.
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The NSW government has proposed apolicy to streamline the planning process andmake it easier for childcare providers and developers to build new facilities and improve existing ones.

ACA NSW president Lyn Connolly said she welcomed initiatives to improve application processing times, but said it could accelerate what wasalready an “oversupply”of places at some long daycare centres acrossNewcastle, Lake Macquarie and Maitland.“Occupancy levels at the moment are at an average of less than 80 per cent for greater Newcastle,” Ms Connolly said.“This is setting people up to fail.”

ACA figures showNewcastle needsan extra 1003 places by 2031, but is expected to have 1852 new places by 2020. Lake Macquarie needs an extra 457 places by 2031 but is expectedto have 1186 by 2020. Maitland needs an extra 1057 places but is expected to have 760 by 2020.

Ms Connolly said the policycould lead to operators including large corporations, the unaware andunscrupulous flooding the market, which could mean lower quality care, force centres to foldand disruptfamilies.

The ACA submission to NSW Planning has called for changesthat would require centres to demonstrate an appropriate level of demand for their services and adhere to a minimum distance from other facilities.

Newcastle City Council declined to comment and a spokesman forMaitland City Councilsaid it “cannot verify thefigures about the local childcare market, both supply and demand, as it is a self regulating industry”. A Lake Macquarie City Council spokeswoman said the policy “was not designed to regulate competition”.

Ms Connolly said regulation meant it wasn’t straightforward for existing centres to become more competitive. “We can’t havea larger group of children[assigned] to the teachers we’ve got, or increase class sizes.”

She saidthe ACA also wanted the federal government to introduce a planning system to decide where centres couldopen, similar to rules for aged care services.

Centres told the Heraldthat even if oversupply wasn’t a current problem, it was a future possibility.

Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle’s vice chancellor administrationSean Scanlon said the StNicholasEarlyEducation centres in Newcastle West and Singleton were operating at or near full capacity. “While the risk of oversupply is certainly a concern, especially with a high degree of speculative investment in the sector, this is not something which will prevent St Nicholas from continuing to expand in the region where there is an identified need for quality early education services,” he said. Samaritans community services manager Julie Pearson said 2017was the first year the charity had to advertise places at its Newcastle and Woodberry centres.

The government’s proposed policyincludes allowingcertain facilities to be assessed as exempt or complying developments and amending local environmental plansto permit centre-based childcare in all low density residential andlight industrialzones.Most facilities are defined as centre-based childcare, which will still need to be assessed through the local development process.

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Two native water rats found killed by an illegal trap in Lake Burley Griffin.?? Photo: Georgina ConneryPlatypuses, native water rats and other species are drowning in illegal traps left in Canberra’s lakes.
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The latest victims were a breeding pair of native golden-bellied water rats found dead in a opera house style yabby net.

The limp bodies of these freshwater aquatic mammals, which play a similar ecological role to otters in the n environment, were found at Yarramundi Reach on the southern shore of Lake Burley Griffin.

ACT Parks and Conservation Environment director Daniel Iglesias said the traps were invisible “killing machines” and they were sadly fairly widespread.

“We don’t know how many nets are in use but what we do know is while these nets are illegal for use in the ACT you can buy them quite readily,” he said.

The yabby or opera house traps are illegal for use in any public waterway in the ACT and are only legal for use west of the Newell Highway, which runs through Narrandera.

Penalties for illegal use in the ACT are high as $7000 but the government said prosecuting such cases was difficult.

“There are significant fines for people we are able to determine are using, in possession of [the nets], or killing the native animals,” Mr Iglesias said.

Broadening public understanding about the illegal nets and their hazards was the government’s best strategy to avoid future tragedies like this.

Mr Iglesias said the public should intervene and retrieve nets if they spotted them.

To avoid any confusion and make sure they are not wrongfully implicated by being in possession of a net near a waterway, report their location on the Access Canberra hotline 132 281.

ACT aquatic ecologist Matt Beitzel said 12 illegal traps had been found when Upper Stranger pond in Tuggeranong was drained. A dead turtle was found in one of them.

He said the abandoned gear led to “ghost-fishing” in ACT waterways as the nets and tackle smothered habitat and entangled fish and other aquatic life.

Canberra Fishermans’ Cub president Glen Malam said anglers were largely doing the right thing and respecting the environment but the real issue was misunderstanding the laws and not comprehending the ongoing damage the traps could do.

“It is a bit confusing for ACT anglers to be able to see them on the shelves and then not be able to use them,” he said. “It is a problem.”

Mr Malam said there was an education gap as no license was required for fishing in the ACT.

“We need to look at better education. People just aren’t aware it is illegal to do that. That is the core of the problem. And also they are easily lost and they are quite a cheap item.”

National Capital Authority chief executive Malcolm Snow said the authority supported responsible fishing on Lake Burley Griffin.

“We’re disappointed to see the images of native water rats (Hydromys chrysogaster) that were found dead in an illegal trap in Yarramundi Reach on the southern shore of Lake Burley Griffin,” he said.

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