Making global headlines this week has been news about the full sequencing of the koala genome. Published in an article titled ‘Adaptation and conservation insights from the koala genome‘, the work can best be described as impressively comprehensive.
This is particularly the case for those, like moi, who tend to get lost in complex detail. According to the paper, a collaborative work compiled by 54 scientists –
” . . . Having characterized the genome, we undertook detailed analyses of key genes and gene families to gain insights into the genomic basis of the koala’s highly specialized biology. Gene families of particular interest were those that encode proteins involved in induced ovulation, those proteins involved in the complex lactation process, those proteins responsible for immunity, and those enzymes that enable the koala to subsist on a toxic diet. ”
Not surprisingly, much useful information has been gained and it seems likely that people, with their slightly smaller genome, will also benefit from this new information.
Of course, whether there are any koalas in the future, or indeed people, is dependant on the ecologically sustainable management of our habitat.
In that regard the NSW Environment Protection Authority has advised submissions on the IFOA remake are now due by 5pm on Friday the 13th of July. Not exactly an auspicious date.
I can’t see much point in a lengthy submission, or one at all, given the outcome is a foregone conclusion.
However, it is worth the effort to try to point out, again, the different interpretations one can place on the available information, starting with soils. The following info comes from an attachment to my submission on the then proposed national listing for koalas.
The photo above shows three soil samples, taken from Compartment 2001 in Bermagui State Forest, 10 minutes after being placed in de-ionised water. A the time (2011) logging had been approved and Forestry’s soil person had found the soils were not dispersible. The issue was that the Forestry soil sample had been taken from a road cutting. Two of the samples (A&B) in the container above were taken from small holes and sample C from a road cutting. The next photo shows the same soil samples after two hours. Samples A and B have almost totally dissolved, yet sample C only has slight slaking. The point being that disturbance is not required to disperse these soils, all it takes is water, to reduce the soil water holding capacity.