e360 digest


28 Jun 2011: Tasmanian Devil Epidemic
Linked to Human Disturbance, Study Finds

A mysterious cancer epidemic that is wiping out populations of the Tasmanian devil is largely the result of low genetic diversity caused by human interference, according to a new study. Using genetic

View photos
Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumor Disease

DPIW/Tasmania
Tasmanian devils’ facial tumor epidemic
sequencing, researchers determined that devils found on opposite ends of the Australian island state of Tasmania — which, consequently, should have been genetically distinct — were remarkably similar. Further analysis of 175 devils and seven museum specimens indicated that the species has had a low genetic diversity over the last century, making the species vulnerable to disease, including a facial tumor epidemic transmitted by physical contact that has wiped out about 66 percent of the animals since it was first observed in 1996. “Devils are essentially immunological clones, so tumors pass between them without triggering an immune response,” said Katherine Belov, an associate professor of animal genetics at the University of Sydney, Australia. Populations of the devil on mainland Australia were wiped out by dingoes introduced by settlers, while on the island of Tasmania humans hunted the marsupials as pests. The findings are published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Email      Recommend     Tweet     Stumble Upon     Digg     Share    


Yale
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
.

SEARCH e360



Donate to Yale Environment 360
Yale Environment 360 Newsletter

CONNECT

Twitter: YaleE360
e360 on Facebook
Donate to e360
View mobile site
Bookmark
Share e360
Subscribe to our newsletter
Subscribe to our feed:
rss


ABOUT

About e360
Contact
Submission Guidelines
Reprints

E360 en Español

Universia partnership
Yale Environment 360 articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia, the online educational network.
Visit the site.


DEPARTMENTS

Opinion
Reports
Analysis
Interviews
Forums
e360 Digest
Podcasts
Video Reports

TOPICS

Biodiversity
Business & Innovation
Climate
Energy
Forests
Oceans
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Sustainability
Urbanization
Water

REGIONS

Antarctica and the Arctic
Africa
Asia
Australia
Central & South America
Europe
Middle East
North America

e360 PHOTO GALLERY

“Peter
Photographer Peter Essick documents the swift changes wrought by global warming in Antarctica, Greenland, and other far-flung places.
View the gallery.

e360 MOBILE

Mobile
The latest
from Yale
Environment 360
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile.

e360 VIDEO

Warriors of Qiugang
The Warriors of Qiugang, a Yale Environment 360 video that chronicles the story of a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant, was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject). Watch the video.


header image
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland. © Google & TerraMetrics.

e360 VIDEO

Colorado River Video
In a Yale Environment 360 video, photographer Pete McBride documents how increasing water demands have transformed the Colorado River, the lifeblood of the arid Southwest. Watch the video.

 

OF INTEREST



Yale