Deadly Viruses Which Kill Cane Toads Identified by Scientists

In the 1930s Australian sugar cane was being destroyed by the grey-backed cane beetle and the French beetle. They are both native to Australia. Scientists looked abroad for a solution. They made the biggest mistake in Australia's history.

Australian cane toad

Cane toads were brought in from Hawaii in 1935. They bred impressively in captivity: this should have been a warning sign. Beetles in Hawaii are not the same as Australian types. Ignoring potential danger 102 young toads were released In Innisfall, Cairns and Gordonvale. Entomologist, Walter Froggatt announced that there would be a disaster - he was right.

Their population exploded across the country. Cane toads did not eat the beetles damaging sugar cane. They devoured native insects, other amphibians and reptiles. Furthermore, creatures that eat them die because they are poisonous.

Fortunately, there has been a breakthrough that could see the end to the dangerous pest. Their DNA has been sequenced. Three viruses have been identified that will kill them. The viruses are specific to cane toads.

As the pest was introduced to new countries they developed new immunities, adapting to local conditions. However, they do not have any resistance to the three viruses. Hopefully when the viruses are ultimately used to control the deadly amphibians native wildlife will recover.







cane toad dna puzzle finally cracked science news abc news skip main content abc home open sites menu enter key open tab key navigate abc home news iview tv radio kids shop close menu log search set location local news weather weather menu showing mobile menu news home politics world business sport science health arts analysis fact check sort science space nature humans technology programs news home politics world business sport science health arts analysis fact check science space nature humans technology programs cane toad dna puzzle finally cracked share share facebook share twitter share whatsapp print mail share options reddit tumblr linkedin google digg stumbleupon close abc science genelle weule updated thursday posted thursday 05 80 years cane toads morphed invading machines david gray reuters share share facebook share twitter share whatsapp print mail share options reddit tumblr linkedin google digg stumbleupon close 80 years cane toads morphed invading machines david gray reuters close hard love cane toad iconic pest face evolutionary success australia toad key points key points scientists sequenced assembled draft cane toad genome time genome scientists toad evolved successful invader genome contains viruses potential biocontrols international team scientists step closer working rainforest toad morphed invasive machine 80 years they've decoded cane toad's genome report journal gigascience genome project led virologist peter white university nsw started conversation colleagues developing virus stop toad tracks genomes.

amphibians viruses professor white dna decided cane toads rhinella marina native french guiana spread world sugar cane industry expanded introduced queensland 935 hawaii control sugar cane beetle today pushing kimberley west slowly moving south northern south wales odd hitchhiker making sydney toads western front nothing sedate queensland cousins study co-author rick shine evolutionary biologist university sydney cane toads western line different eastern cousins angus emmott user submitted share share facebook share twitter share whatsapp print mail share options reddit tumblr linkedin google digg stumbleupon close cane toads western line different eastern cousins angus emmott user submitted close westies changed bolder longer legs bigger heads toads queensland sit bums anywhere day professor shine toads invasion front long-distance athletes further amphibian recorded world 80 years ago single gene pool hard case crack handful amphibian genomes sequenced past genome toad bufonidae family decode cane toad's genome team west australian scientists crack decade ago professor white wa team able sequence genome — identify base pairs nucleotides dna — able notoriously complex jigsaw back together ten years armed sophisticated technology professor white's team sequenced assembled draft genome tissue samples taken four female toads western front toads furthest genetic roots french guiana professor white draft genome amphibian genomes date we've found 90 per cent genes step work genes professor rick shine studied march cane toads australia abc news.

james purtill share share facebook share twitter share whatsapp print mail share options reddit tumblr linkedin google digg stumbleupon close professor rick shine studied march cane toads australia abc news james purtill close excitement working frog constructed able differences populations professor shine extraordinarily powerful opportunity process evolution professor shine analysing genome provide clues cane toad pretty average rainforest toad romp driest continent earth toxin deadly going changes gene frequencies changes regulation epigenetics professor white team sequencing genomes toads stops sugar cane trail australia french guiana they've evolved viruses point biocontrol genes team identified viruses embedded genome additional sequencing research further cane toads identified third virus lurking animal's rna material carries dna information building blocks cells professor white discovery toad specific viruses lead development biocontrol years ago csiro looked genetic virus kill cane toads started going work found killed native frogs newts biocontrol agent virus kills animal targeting everything else professor white work would needed viruses toad specific future studies would grow virus check can't infect related native animals cane toads devastating impacts native wildlife areas abc jonathan webb share share facebook share twitter share whatsapp print mail share options reddit tumblr linkedin google digg stumbleupon close cane toads devastating impacts native wildlife areas abc jonathan webb close professor shine however comfortable idea biocontrol would work convince public convince going safe route travel toads extremely destructive area native wildlife adapted better expected adding programs teaching predators avoid toads promising i've actually transitioned view toads professor shine fault brought here kill native animals self-defence we're going to learn live toads abc science promo science abc.

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