[ASC-list] Brisbane event Can we save the Tasmanian devil from extinction?

Jayne Keane jayne.keane at qm.qld.gov.au
Tue Oct 9 00:10:34 UTC 2012

Can we save the Tasmanian devil from extinction? A/Prof Kathy Belov, The
University of Sydney 


When: Monday 22 October. 

Time: 6:30 - 7:30pm. 

Venue: Long room, Customs House at Riverside. 


 Doors open at 6:00pm. No need to book - just show up! 

Refreshments: There will be complimentary drinks and nibblies following
the talk, and A/Prof Belov will be available to answer any questions. 

 Questions? Contact Andrew (a.stephenson at uq.edu.au)



Thanks to cartoons, we are brought up imagining that Tasmanian devils
are virtually indestructible, and can only be defeated by a wascally
wabbit. However, in real life this image of invincibility could not be
further from the truth as the Tasmanian devil faces extinction in the
wild due to the emergence of a new infectious disease. Devil Facial
Tumour Disease (DFTD) is a contagious cancer that is spread during
biting. The disease emerged and has spread due to a lack of genetic
diversity in Tasmanian devil populations. The recent discovery of
genetically different animals in northwestern Tasmania initially raised
hopes that some of these animals may be able to mount an immune response
against DFTD. However, this has not occurred and there is little
evidence of genetic resistance. Moreover, the emergence of new strains
of DFTD adds to the complexity of the picture. In this talk Kathy Belov
will talk about her current research and conservation strategies to save
the Tasmanian devil from extinction



Kathy Belov is an award winning scientist based in the Faculty of
Veterinary Science at the University of Sydney. Her research expertise
is in the area of comparative genomics and immunogenetics of Australian
wildlife. Kathy's research team has participated in the opossum,
platypus and wallaby genome projects. Her team's work into Tasmanian
devils has demonstrated that their extremely low levels of genetic
diversity has provided an opportunity for DFTD, a rare contagious
cancer, to spread through devil populations without encountering
histocomopatibility barriers. Kathy's work being presented in this talk
has been rewarded with two Eureka awards: research and communication.




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