The Fat-tailed Dunnart
Many Australian species are constantly under threat from habitat destruction, climate change and invasive species. A major hurdle to applying advanced systems of animal conservation is the lack of well-defined animal models (like laboratory rats and mice) that are practical to use in an experimental setting. My lab has establishing a colony of fat-tailed dunnarts, that are about the size of a mouse, so we can develop such a model and better understand and protect the unique biology of unique Australian marsupials. We will use the dunnart to:
- Establish a defined marsupial model that can be housed in typical animal holding facilities of any research institute
- Develop a pipeline for the generation of genetically-modified marsupial
- Apply genetic modification techniques developed for the dunnart, in threatened/endangered Australian marsupials to guarantee the continuing existence of these valuable and unique animals
Gross morphology of the fat-tailed dunnart throughout postnatal development in the pouch. Numbers below pouch young refer to the day postpartum.