Talk:Koala Development

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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2021, June 14) Embryology Koala Development. Retrieved from

10 Most Recent Papers

Note - This sub-heading shows an automated computer PubMed search using the listed sub-heading term. References appear in this list based upon the date of the actual page viewing. Therefore the list of references do not reflect any editorial selection of material based on content or relevance. In comparison, references listed on the content page and discussion page (under the publication year sub-headings) do include editorial selection based upon relevance and availability. (More? Pubmed Most Recent)

Koala Development

<pubmed limit=5>Koala Development</pubmed>

Koala Embryology

<pubmed limit=5>Koala Embryology</pubmed>

Koala comes from the Dharuk gula, the word is erroneously said to mean "doesn't drink"


Composition of marsupial zona pellucida: a molecular and phylogenetic approach

Reprod Fertil Dev. 2017 Nov 22. doi: 10.1071/RD16519. [Epub ahead of print]

Moros-Nicolás C, Chevret P, Izquierdo-Rico MJ, Holt WV, Esteban-Díaz D, López-Béjar M, Martínez-Nevado E, Nilsson MA, Ballesta J, Avilés M.


The zona pellucida (ZP) is an extracellular matrix that surrounds mammalian oocytes. In eutherians it is formed from three or four proteins (ZP1, ZP2, ZP3, ZP4). In the few marsupials that have been studied, however, only three of these have been characterised (ZP2, ZP3, ZP4). Nevertheless, the composition in marsupials may be more complex, since a duplication of the ZP3 gene was recently described in one species. The aim of this work was to elucidate the ZP composition in marsupials and relate it to the evolution of the ZP gene family. For that, an in silico and molecular analysis was undertaken, focusing on two South American species (gray short-tailed opossum and common opossum) and five Australian species (brushtail possum, koala, Bennett's wallaby, Tammar wallaby and Tasmanian devil). This analysis identified the presence of ZP1 mRNA and mRNA from two or three paralogues of ZP3 in marsupials. Furthermore, evidence for ZP1 and ZP4 pseudogenes in the South American subfamily Didelphinae and for ZP3 pseudogenes in two marsupials is provided. In conclusion, two different composition models are proposed for marsupials: a model with four proteins (ZP1, ZP2 and ZP3 (two copies)) for the South American species and a model with six proteins (ZP1, ZP2, ZP3 (three copies) and ZP4) for the Australasian species. PMID: 29162213 DOI: 10.1071/RD16519


Characterisation of the immune compounds in koala milk using a combined transcriptomic and proteomic approach

Sci Rep. 2016 Oct 7;6:35011. doi: 10.1038/srep35011.

Morris KM1, O'Meally D1, Zaw T2, Song X2, Gillett A3, Molloy MP2, Polkinghorne A4, Belov K1.


Production of milk is a key characteristic of mammals, but the features of lactation vary greatly between monotreme, marsupial and eutherian mammals. Marsupials have a short gestation followed by a long lactation period, and milk constituents vary greatly across lactation. Marsupials are born immunologically naïve and rely on their mother's milk for immunological protection. Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) are an iconic Australian species that are increasingly threatened by disease. Here we use a mammary transcriptome, two milk proteomes and the koala genome to comprehensively characterise the protein components of koala milk across lactation, with a focus on immune constituents. The most abundant proteins were well-characterised milk proteins, including β-lactoglobulin and lactotransferrin. In the mammary transcriptome, 851 immune transcripts were expressed, including immunoglobulins and complement components. We identified many abundant antimicrobial peptides, as well as novel proteins with potential antimicrobial roles. We discovered that marsupial VELP is an ortholog of eutherian Glycam1, and likely has an antimicrobial function in milk. We also identified highly-abundant koala endogenous-retrovirus sequences, identifying a potential transmission route from mother to young. Characterising the immune components of milk is key to understanding protection of marsupial young, and the novel immune compounds identified may have applications in clinical research. PMID: 27713568 PMCID: PMC5054531 DOI: 10.1038/srep35011


The Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus): A Case Study in the Development of Reproductive Technology in a Marsupial

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2014;753:171-203. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-0820-2_9.

Johnston SD1, Holt WV.


The successful development and application of an assisted breeding program in any animal relies primarily on a thorough understanding of the fundamental reproductive biology (anatomy, physiology and behaviour) of the species in question. Surely, the ultimate goal and greatest hallmark of such a program is the efficacious establishment of a series of reliable techniques that facilitate the reproductive and genetic management of fragmented populations, both in captivity and in the wild. Such an achievement is all the more challenging when the reproductive biology of that species is essentially rudimentary and without adequate reproductive models to compare to. Using the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) as a case study, this chapter provides some personal insights into the evolution of a concept that began as a small undergraduate student project but that subsequently evolved into the first-ever successful artificial insemination of a marsupial. Apart from this historical perspective, we also provide a brief review of the current reproductive biology of the koala, discuss technical elements of current assisted breeding technology of this species, its potential application to the wombat, and the future role it might play in helping to conserve wild koala populations. There is little doubt that the unique reproductive biology and tractability of the koala has in this case been a benefit rather than a hindrance to the success of artificial breeding in this species.

PMID 25091911


Shoulder dysplasia in koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) at San Diego Zoo

J Zoo Wildl Med. 2009 Sep;40(3):453-7.

Pye GW.

Zoological Society of San Diego, P.O. Box 120551, San Diego, California 92101, USA. Abstract A radiographic study documented shoulder dysplasia (n = 43), with varying degrees of malformation of the supraglenoid and infraglenoid tubercles and the coracoid process, shallowing or loss of the glenoid cavity, flattening or loss of the humeral head, malformation of the greater and lesser tubercles, loss of the intertubercle groove, and humeral diaphyseal abnormalities, in northern koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) in the San Diego Zoo (San Diego, California, USA) colony. Retrospectively, historic radiographs (n = 38) were examined where available. Prospectively, three standard views (lateral extended arm, ventrodorsal cranially positioned arms, and ventrodorsal caudally positioned arms) were imaged (n = 25). In all radiographs, shoulders were graded as normal, or mildly, moderately, or severely dysplastic. Although affected koalas typically do not exhibit clinical signs, degenerative joint disease may develop and clinical signs treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Where shoulder and hip radiographs were both available (n = 60), 92% of individuals had correlation between the degree of shoulder and hip dysplasia.

PMID 19746859


The zona pellucida of the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus): its morphogenesis and thickness

J Anat. 2006 Sep;209(3):393-400.

Chapman JA, Leigh CM, Breed WG. Source Discipline of Anatomy and Physiology, School of Medicine, University of Tasmania, Australia. Abstract In this study the ultrastructural organization of the koala oocyte and the thickness of the surrounding extracellular coat, the zona pellucida, has been determined to ascertain whether there is coevolution of the morphology of the female gamete with that of the highly divergent male gamete that is found in this marsupial species. Ovaries from several adult koalas were obtained and prepared for transmission electron microscopy. Oocytes in large tertiary follicles were somewhat smaller than those of most other marsupials, although their ultrastructural organization appeared similar and included many yolk vesicles. The zona pellucida surrounding the oocytes in tertiary follicles was approximately 8 microm thick and thus is of similar thickness to that of some eutherian mammals but at least twice as thick as that of most marsupial species so far studied. The results indicate that the koala oocyte is unusually small for a marsupial species whereas the zona pellucida is, by contrast, much thicker. How this relates to sperm-egg interaction at the time of fertilization has yet to be determined.

PMID 16928207


Gestational length in the koala, Phascolarctos cinereus

Anim Reprod Sci. 2002 Apr 15;70(3-4):261-6.

Gifford A, Fry G, Houlden BA, Fletcher TP, Deane EM.

Zoological Parks Board of New South Wales, P.O. Box 20, Mosman, NSW 2088, Australia. Abstract We report a possible case of extended gestation in the koala, Phascolarctos cinereus. Birth of a pouch young was first observed 127 days after the removal of the male from a multi-female colony at Taronga Zoo. No other males were present at that time or had access to the facility. Head measurements and other growth data collected at the time of detection and over the period of pouch life indicates the time from removal of the male and the date of birth to be between 50 and 77 days. DNA fingerprinting using microsatellite loci unambiguously assigned paternity of the pouch young to this male. These observations suggest either an extended period of gestation of at least 50 days, or activation of a dormant blastocyst from the previous breeding season, as the female entered the period of seasonal oestrus.

PMID 11943495

Development of the male urogenital system of the koala phascolarctos cinereus

Anat Embryol (Berl). 1998 Mar;197(3):217-27.

Esson C, Armati PJ.

School of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney, NSW, Australia. Abstract This paper described several developmental stages of the male urogenital system in the koala Phascolarctos cinereus, employing both light and scanning electron microscopy. There are few studies of the development of the urogenital system in male marsupials. Findings by White and Timms (1994) that male koalas can be infected with Chlamydia psittaci emphasise the importance of studies on male animals and in particular their reproductive system. Specimens in our study ranged in age from 15 days postnatal to adults. Due to the rarity of such specimens, details of each specimen are linked to the changes of the structures at each available stage. Light microscopy revealed that differentiation of the gonads had commenced by 15 days postnatal and that the cytological arrangements of the urogenital system are essentially the same as those of other mammals. Scanning electron microscopy revealed stereocilia and microvilli along the lumen of each ductus epididymis and cilia and microvilli along the lumina of the vasa deferentia and urethra. The development of these structures coincided with the onset of sexual maturation, sperm production and differentiation at about three years of age.

PMID 9543340

Other Marsupials

Developmental staging in a marsupial Dasyurus hallucatus

Anat Embryol (Berl). 1992;185(4):335-54.

Nelson JE.

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia. Abstract In a marsupial, Dasyurus hallucatus, pouch-young of various ages from newborn to 55 days were embedded in wax and serially sectioned. On the basis of the relative development of external and internal characteristics, they were placed in the Carnegie staging system developed by Streeter and elaborated by O'Rahilly and associates. Birth occurred at stage 15, and the end of embryogenesis (stage 23) was reached about day 33. Whereas stage 23 is characterised in all eutherians by the closure of the secondary palate, this occurs before stage 15 in D. hallucatus. Since most other characters of the newborn are at a stage 15 level of development, there has been a relative acceleration of development of the secondary palate (and forelimb) in D. hallucatus that allows it to suckle and breathe at the same time. Between D. hallucatus and eutherians, there is general agreement in the sequence of development and in the relative degree of most structures at each stage. Further marsupials should be examined to see if the minor differences noted are peculiar to D. hallucatus or apply to marsupials generally.

PMID 1609962