Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Project to Save Endangered Tasmanian Devil

04.11.2008
University of Adelaide zoologist Dr Jeremy Austin will lead a national project to help save the endangered Tasmanian devil from extinction.

Dr Austin and colleagues from SA Zoos and the Tasmanian Government will spend the next three years establishing a conservation program and working to suppress the infectious cancer, devil facial tumour disease, which is ravaging Australia’s largest living marsupial carnivore.

The Tasmanian devil is not only a key tourism icon for Australia’s most southern State, but also ecologically critical to Tasmania’s native ecosystem.

“Extinction of the species is a possibility within the next two decades unless disease spread can be stopped,” says Dr Austin.

Because Tasmanian devils have extremely low levels of genetic diversity and a chromosomal mutation unique among carnivorous mammals, they are more prone to the infectious cancer. Dr Austin’s team will analyse genetic material from devil populations to understand the origin, spread and impact of the disease and try to find a vaccine.

“We need to establish whether the low levels of genetic diversity are due to recent human impacts or a long-term historical pattern. We also need to look at how the cancer is affecting surviving populations and identify individuals that may be resistant to the disease.”

Tasmanian devils became extinct on the Australian mainland at least 400 years ago and are now found only in Tasmania. Unlike Tasmanian tigers, devils survived initial human impacts following European colonisation but in the past decade their numbers have fallen drastically.

“We have lost over half our devils in the past 10 years, with an estimated population of 20,000 to 50,000 mature devils left. Extinction within the next 20 years is a real possibility unless we find a vaccine, eradicate the disease and establish captive colonies,” Dr Austin says.

Devil facial tumour disease is one of only two known clonally transmissible cancers and appears to have originated from a genetic change of mutation in a single individual. It is spread through biting, without any evidence of recovery or resistance to the disease.

The project, which has received $168,000 from the Federal Government, combines ancient DNA methods and modern genetic procedures to examine the impact of the disease on Tasmanian devils.

Dr Jeremy Austin, ARC Senior Research Associate
School of Earth & Environmental Sciences
University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8303 4557
Mobile: +61 0404 198 493

Dr Jeremy Austin | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.adelaide.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Designer cells: artificial enzyme can activate a gene switch

22.05.2018 | Life Sciences

PR of MCC: Carbon removal from atmosphere unavoidable for 1.5 degree target

22.05.2018 | Earth Sciences

Achema 2018: New camera system monitors distillation and helps save energy

22.05.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>