In this addition to the critically acclaimed Scientist in the Field series, Dorothy Patent follows the scientists trying to put a stop to a gruesome disease before it’s too late. Tasmanian devils are dying at an alarming rate from a type of tumor that appears to be contagious. What scientists are learning while researching the Tasmanian devil has potential to affect all animals, and even humans, as they learn more about how to prevent and hopefully eradicate certain genetic diseases.
In the late 1990s, a fatal disease called Devil facial tumor disease began wiping out the Tasmanian devil population, killing nearly 90% of the devils over the past 20 years. Why was the entire population getting the same disease? Was it contagious? Then geneticist Jenny Graves made a discovery that was hard to believe, but true: the tumors were cloning and multiplying between animals. If researchers cannot get to the bottom of this mystery, this fascinating mammal will soon be gone. Dorothy Hinshaw Patent takes readers on an unforgettable tour of the Tasmania to meet the scientists working to save the devil before it's too late.