Thursday, 29 September 2011
Fighting to save the Tasmanian Devil
Elizabeth Murchison studies the genetics and evolution of clonally transmissible cancers. Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease (DFTD) and canine transmissible venereal tumour (CTVT) are the only known naturally occurring tumours that are spread between individuals by the transfer of viable cancer cells.
These diseases have evolved independently, and have distinct host species, pathologies and clinical outcomes. DFTD affects Tasmanian devils and is threatening this unique marsupial species with extinction. By using high throughput DNA sequencing technologies, Elizabeth is investigating the genetics and evolution of these two diseases.
Elizabeth featured on the TED.com website recently talking about the fight to save the Tasmanian Devil.