Showing posts with label DFTD. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DFTD. Show all posts

Genetic Resistance by Tasmanian Devils to Facial Disease (DFTD) - Biology

Biological research shows genetic resistance to Tasmanian devil disease.
The Tasmanian devil is an animal unique to Australia. It Once resided all over the continent. Perhaps is was easy for Aboriginals to catch for food. It cannot run very fast. It could just have died out due to a warming of the country. Tasmania is its only natural home today.
Tasmanian devil facial tumor disease (DFTD
Their raucous cries led to them being named devils by European settlers. They are violent to each other though attacks on humans are virtually non-existent. Scavenging for food is their number one priority.

A facial disease began in the species in 1996. It was unusual in that it is the only known cancer transmitted from animal to animal. Tasmanian devil numbers fell by 80 per cent in twenty years due to Tasmanian devil facial tumor disease (DFTD).

Extinction was predicted. However, it was noticed that some animals survived without getting the disease. Genes were examined and these devils had five genes not present in their brothers who succumbed. This shows that all animals currently living are unlike their ancestors who dominated even a hundred years ago.
tasmanian, devil, disease, facial, european, settlement, dftd, extinction, survice, dnd, genes, resistance

Culling Could Destroy the Tasmanian Devil

Tasmanian devils are still under threat despite culling programs. Far too many devils must be killed to eradicate the Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD), so many in fact that it could decimate the Animal itself. During the incubation period of the disease, devils have no facial deformity and these animals slip through the cull net.

Current estimates give the Tasmanian devil only 25 years for survival in the wild. Work is in progress to find a vaccine. An "insurance population" is being established on the Australian mainland. And devils in north-western Tasmania have a natural genetic resistance; the spread there is slowing.

Just why the disease developed is unknown. It began in 1996. Because devils bite each other during normal interaction, DFTD spreads rapidly. The devil population has fallen by 60 per cent due to the dangerous facial tumour disease.
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