Australia's ABC News reports that investigators at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and their colleagues at Illumina have completed a draft sequence of the Tasmanian devil genome. According to Illumina, "the reference Tasmanian devil genome — approximately the same size as the human genome — was sequenced in eight days in one run … generating more than 80-fold genome coverage." The team suggests that their work will have implications for the study of devil facial tumor disease. The draft sequence will "open the door for new research to pick out those specific mutations that drive the cancer and will lay the foundation for ongoing work to trace the spread of disease and inform the development of preclinical tests, conservation strategies, and disease therapies," according to a Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute statement. Elizabeth Murchison, the project's PI, tells ABC News that "this gene map will help us to assess the diversity ... in the wild in order to help us design conservation efforts which will hopefully help us protect the devils."
Taz Genome vs. DFTD
Sep 16, 2010