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Graves Wins Top Australian Science Prize

Comparative genomics researcher Jenny Graves from La Trobe University has been awarded the top Australian science prize, the $250,000 Prime Minister's Prize for Science, the Guardian reports.

Graves has been studying bearded dragons' genome for clues as to how male eggs become female dragons at high temperature, the Sydney Morning Herald says. With climate change, increasing temperatures could led to fewer male dragons and have a dire effect on the species, it adds.

The Guardian adds that Graves is also known for her work on the human Y chromosome and for uncovering the gene there that governs the development of males. She further found that the Y chromosome is shrinking and has hypothesized that it could disappear. She has also contributed to sequencing the wallaby, kangaroo, platypus, and other genomes.

Graves is, the Sydney Morning Herald says, the first solo woman to receive the prize. She tells the paper that she is "thrilled to bits" about being awarded the prize.

"Her global contribution to the understanding of evolutionary genetics and sex determination in humans is extraordinary," John Dewar, vice-chancellor of La Trobe adds at the Herald.