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Year 12 Biology – Demystifying the Koala Diet

March 9, 2023

This week our students used various Biotechnology applications to copy and separate sections of Marsupial DNA. Koalas have a particularly long DNA sequence (cytochrome P450 gene). This long sequence helps them to break down the large volume of gum leaves that they consume (otherwise toxic to all other marsupials on the planet). It shows how animals have adapted to suit their environments and in particular how the Koala has adapted to a unique gum leaf only diet.

Our students were able to amplify the DNA using Polymerase Chain Reactions and then create DNA profiles to identify Koala DNA from other marsupials, including a Quokka. These techniques are the same as the current PCR tests carried out to identify COVID-19 infections.

Mr Shane Willshire
Science Teacher

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