Publication Details

Warren, J. & Martin, B. (2014). What’s killing Tassie devils if it isn’t a contagious cancer?. The Conversation, (17 November), 1-3.

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The Conversation


Scientists have been trying to figure out the cause of the deadly cancer affecting so many Tasmanian devils but the research doesn’t seem to be providing many useful answers. What if they’re looking in the wrong place for a cause and a cure?

The Tasmanian devil is Australia’s largest carnivorous marsupial. It is currently listed as “endangered” and risks becoming extinct. Most of the devils in Tasmania are developing ugly tumours on their faces due to what is called devil facial tumour disease (DFTD), and it is nearly always fatal.

The disease was first observed in 1996 and research into it began in 2003.