And the song goes on

11 10 2008

Something I learned doing research with endangered Australian marsupials was that Australia has the worst record on history as far as extinctions of major animal species.

This doesn’t look set to change anytime soon.

At least my Australian European-ness can feel a little less self conscious – it seems its been that way since humans started arriving on this island.

Particularly Tasmania.

Which is still very depressing. Tasmania’s island of an island status means it does have some of the more interesting ecosystem inhabitants. With creatures like the Tasmanian devil not found anywhere else anymore.

Human arrivals to isolated islands – such as Mauritias and New Zealand – has seen severe eco-damage throughout history.

There is also a feature on this research in this month’s Australasian Science.


Hack the Planet

14 09 2008

I don’t think I have seen a better science fiction film than GATTACA for the pure fact that it gets the science so spot on.

ERV brings up the emergence of Genetic Medicine as a serious consideration, and there is also a feature on DNA-based diets in this month’s Australasian Science.

Hack the Planet. Sequence Everything!* – I whole heartedly agree. The race-based approach of recent past is seriously flawed, even to a dangerous degree. Genetic medicine will require individualised sequenced genomes, which is approaching as a realistic proposition.

Sequencing is largely automated these days, so it is simply a matter of getting investors interested. Early trendsetters are jumping on the sequencing bandwagon (GTG Australia). I think the publlics interest in tailored working diets will probably be the major motivator to look out for.

With genetic screening tests also coming a true reality, and fertility treatments proving more and more popular, will GATTACA become the prophecy. Will we see a future where your children’s children’s future is set by their genetic framework? Can the dystopia be avoided?

*I want a T-shirt