ZOOLogisch heeft wetenschapspopularisering tot doel, m.a.w. het onderzoek op het gebied van dierkunde vereenvoudigd maar volledig te analyseren om het op deze manier toegankelijk te maken voor brede lagen van de bevolking. Ook vind je op ZOOLogisch de belangrijkste persberichten terug van alle (inter)nationale dierentuinen.
woensdag 25 mei 2016
Discovery of New Genetic Diversity Renews Hope for the Survival of the Tasmanian Devil
San Diego Zoo Global Partnership with University of Sydney,
Save the Tasmanian Devil Program, Helps in Fight to End Extinction
San Diego Zoo
Global, in partnership with the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program, is pleased to
share encouraging news from staff at the University of Sydney. Following nine
years of research into the genetics of the Tasmanian devil, the veterinary faculty
has found new genetic diversity for the species after genotyping fecal samples
taken in the UNESCO World Heritage site in southwest Tasmania.
fecal samples has confirmed that Tasmanian devils are living in the area, and
that this population holds genetic markers different from those in the
“insurance population” that is living in breeding facilities and zoos
“We are excited,
because it means that if we go and collect devils from the southwest, we will
be able to increase the genetic diversity of our insurance population—but also
to do genetic rescue to increase genetic diversity of devils across Tasmania,”
said Kathy Belov, professor, University of Sydney. “Every effort should now be
made to access devil samples from southwest Tasmania, to ensure the genetic
diversity of the species is maintained in the longer term.”
Known for its
pristine and rugged terrain, this area has no road access. Researchers must
access the area by way of a long hike, a chartered boat or a hired helicopter.
The funding requests for these access methods had been unsuccessful. The
samples used for genotyping were secured by a collaborator who was hiking in
the southwest area in January 2016.
is a perfect example of academic research and conservation management working
together for the greater benefit of the devil,” said Dr. David Pemberton,
manager, Save the Tasmanian Devil Program.
a Ph.D student at the University of Sydney, received the first round of testing
results this week. The genetic testing was performed on fecal samples collected
at four locations in southwest Tasmania, from five Tasmanian devils. Using 17
microsatellite markers, Gooley was able to show there were at least nine
different alleles (a variant form of a gene) across three markers, with an
additional four alleles giving a weak signal.
In addition to
its partnership with the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program, San Diego Zoo Global
is funding a post-doctorial fellow, Dr. Catherine Grueber, as part of the Devil
Tools and Tech project that operates within the Australasian Wildlife Genomics
Group, in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of
Sydney. This position is supervised by Kathy Belov.
The discovery of
the Southwest population of Tasmanian devils, with new genetic variations, is a
thrilling discovery for this species,”said Bob Wiese, chief life sciences
officer for San Diego Zoo Global. “Our partners in Australia are working so
diligently to prevent the extinction of the Tasmanian devil and we’re proud
that their years of work are paying off and bringing new hope for the survival
of this beloved animal.”
Tasmanian devils are facing extinction in the wild due to devil
facial tumor disease (DFTD), a rare, contagious cancer found only in devils.
DFTD is transmitted from one animal to another through biting, a common
behavior among devils when mating and feeding. The disease kills all infected
devils within six to 12 months, and there is no known cure or vaccine.