Scientists were able to map out the Koala’s genome, which means they may now have a better chance of developing vaccines that can treat Australia’s symbolic animal suffering from the sexually transmitted disease chlamydia.
This latest development lets scientists evade aggressive procedures that include looking at their biology. Wildlife groups believe there are between 80,000 and 180,000 of the marsupials.
Genome Consortium researchers, along with a team of both Australia
and international scientists, said they were able to sequence over
3.4 billion base pairs and over 26,000 genes in their genome – a
bit bigger than the human one.
of Sydney Professor of Comparative Genomics Katherine Belov said they
are in good position to develop better vaccines to treat the
chlamydia. The research was published in the Nature Genetics journal.
chlamydia infections can cause severe bladder inflammation,
blindness, infertility and death. However, treating the koalas with
antibiotics can lead to an inability of the koalas ingesting the
eucalyptus leaves, which is a key part of their diet.
said time would tell why some of the koalas seem to recover while
other koalas don’t. This will help in the development of therapies
that will treat the beloved Australian animals.
In 2012, Australia classified the koalas as being a vulnerable species, which means conservation measures are being used to protect the animals.
Here’s what we've been up to recently.