The podcast from the seminar by Kathy Belov Can we save the Tasmanian devil from extinction? is now available.
The iconic Tasmanian devil is under threat. Not only does it face traditional conservation pressures, a devastating facial tumor is wiping out populations across Tasmania. The species is the focus of numerous conservation efforts and research, but can the devil be saved from extinction? Professor Katherine Belov, ARC Future Fellow and Professor of Comparative Genetics at the University of Sydney, explores the fate of the Tasmanian devil.
Tasmanian Devil. Image – Flickr/Scott Nolan
Katherine Belov is Professor of Comparative Genomics at the Faculty of Veterinary Science of the University of Sydney and contributing author of the 2012 Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics. In this seminar, Prof. Belov discusses:
- the origins of the Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD), a transmissible cancer that has already caused the disappearance of 85 percent of the species and could lead to its extinction in the wild within 25 years.
- what is known of the tumor based on its genomics
- why it is transmitted between animals without causing immune recognition in the devils
- conservation efforts to save the species from extinction.