The emergence of a fatal transmissible cancer known as devil facial tumor disease (DFTD) is threatening the iconic Tasmanian devil with extinction in the wild within the next few decades. Since the first report of the disease in 1996, DFTD has spread to over 85% of the devils’ distribution and dramatically reduced devil numbers. Research into DFTD has focused on gaining a deeper understanding of the disease on multiple levels, including an accurate assessment of the tissue origin of the tumor, elucidation of how the tumor evades immune detection, and determination of how the tumor is transmitted between individuals and how it is evolving as it spreads through the population. Knowledge gained from these studies has important implications for DFTD management and devil conservation.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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