Journal article

Targeted gene flow and rapid adaptation in an endangered marsupial

Ella Kelly, Ben L Phillips



Targeted gene flow is an emerging conservation strategy. It involves translocating individuals with favorable genes to areas where they will have a conservation benefit. The applications for targeted gene flow are wide-ranging but include preadapting native species to the arrival of invasive species. The endangered carnivorous marsupial, the northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus), has declined rapidly since the introduction of the cane toad (Rhinella marina), which fatally poisons quolls that attack them. There are, however, a few remaining toad-invaded quoll populations in which the quolls survive because they know not to eat cane toads. It is this toad-smart behavior we hope to promote throu..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by Australian Research Council

Funding Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the Australian Research Council (LP150100722; FT160100198); Margaret Middleton Fund Award for Endangered Australian Native Vertebrate Animals (to E.K.); and Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment (to E.K.). We thank J. Webb for providing feedback on the experimental design. Thanks to Wildlife Conservancy of Tropical Queensland (Mareeba Wetlands), Mareeba Crocodile Farm, South Endeavour Trust, and Northern Gulf Resource Management Group for access and assistance that facilitated the collection of quolls from Queensland. We also thank Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife, Kakadu National Park, Northern Land Council, the Marthakal Rangers, and Territory Wildlife Park for assistance with collection of quolls from Astell Island. We also wish to acknowledge the support of the Territory Wildlife Park with housing, husbandry, and breeding of the quolls in captivity.