Feeds

Tasmanian tumours blamed on inbreeding

Devils face visit from the Darwinator

High performance access to file storage

The devil is the largest surviving marsupial predator on the island and has hitherto kept the populations of other predators in check. Its decline has allowed the non-native red fox - a serious pest - to gain a foothold in only six years, and the feral cat's chances of establishing itself are also increasing (although enterprising and unsqueamish souls have found a possible culinary solution to that one). Matters haven't been helped by the fact that the 10-year-old problem was not taken seriously until 2003, when state government funds were finally allocated for research.

Researcher Dr Katharine Belov of Sydney University also fears for the future of the koala and the platypus, as both distinctively Aussie beasts are splashing in similarly shallow gene pools.

"Loss of genetic diversity in these genes just opens the door for emergence and rapid spread of new and old disease," she explains.

The fragilities of Australia's unique biodiversity have long been apparent - 20 native species have become extinct in the last 200 years, including the former largest carnivorous Tasmanian marsupial, the thylacine.

Devil expert Hamish McCallum of the University of Tasmania called the research findings "significant, but depressing... it suggests it will be very difficult for the animals to evolve resistance to [DFTD], unless we find individuals with more diversity, which is unlikely".

At least Warner Bros, without whose character the Tasmanian devil would be as obscure as the spotted-tailed quoll, has finally come around to the idea of supporting the cause after years of dispute with the Tasmanian government.

The animation giant agreed last year to help the stricken beasts off whose fluffy backs it's made millions of dollars by ponying up the proceeds from a special edition stuffed Taz toy. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
Get your MOON GEAR: Auction to feature Space Race memorabilia
Keepsakes from early NASA, Soviet programs up for bids
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.