Gene-banking lizard sperm to prevent species extinction

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Scientists will take a major step forward using biotechnological methods to help conserve reptiles in Western Australia’s Kimberley region.

The project aims to help create a gene bank to counter threats from the cane toad, which arrived in east Kimberley in 2011. The cane toad becomes a killer when eaten by reptiles who die from ingested toxins.

“A couple of years ago we realised that the biggest threat to biodiversity in the Kimberley region was the fact you have got all these top predator species declining in huge numbers, which leads ultimately to genetic bottlenecks,” University of Newcastle ecologist Simon Clulow said. “We lose all the genetic diversity, which is basically all of their adaptive potential for the future and essentially it makes them functionally extinct.”

Read the full, original story: Genetic plan to counter cane toad

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