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Breakthrough in understanding koala disease

In a world-first project, Australian researchers have mapped koala genomes. A partnership between QUT and the Australian Museum has discovered important information relating to the genetic make-up of the iconic animal.

Using tissue from Birke, a koala who was euthanized following a dog attack, the team has identified the interferon gamma (IFN-g) gene, key to fending off disease. Understanding the genetic makeup of koalas will allows scientists to better protect koalas from diseases such as chlamydia and koala retrovirus.

The aim is to enlarge the current team of 12 researchers to better develop the immunological tools needed. Further goals include cures for other marsupials like the Tasmanian Devil, and figuring out why disease is more prevalent in NSW and Queensland than Victoria.

Read more at Queensland University of Technology

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