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Australian scientists have found a tarantula molecule that can fight the disease that is killing the Tasmanian Devil population in the southeast of Australia.
The Tasmanian Devil is the largest carnivore marsupial in the world. Until 3,000 years ago, it lived on continental Australia. However, today, its habitat is restricted to the island of Tasmania. Even in Tasmania, the mammal is seriously at risk of becoming extinct because of a contagious and transmissible form of cancer known as the Tasmanian Devil facial tumor disease.
Researchers discovered that the molecule named gomesina interferes in the marsupial’s cancerous cell cycle and kills them. The study was published by Nature group’s online magazine Cell Death Discover .
Since the disease appeared, in 1996, close to 80% of the animals have already died. If nothing is done, scientists estimate that the species will become extinct in the next 15 to 25 years.
What is a marsupial?
They are mammals whose females have a pouch-like skin on the stomach. Some of the females have a very developed marsupial (marsupium means bag in Latin). In some of the species, the pouch is only formed during the reproductive period. In others, it is totally absent. In addition to the Tasmanian Devil, kangaroos, koalas, skunks, and opossums are also marsupials.
1) According to the text, which is the WRONG option:
A) The Tasmanian Devil lives on an Australian island.
B) The mammal is in danger of extinction.
C) The molecule discovered in the spider in Brazil could fight the Tasmanian Devil’s cancerous cells.
D) The Tasmanian Devil is the smallest carnivore marsupial in the world.
2) What are some of the marsupial’s characteristics?