Gaps or deficits in knowledge present opportunities for new and innovative research, but when studies are undone much is lost. The concept of ‘undone science’ can be understood within related concepts, including ignorance, nescience, non-knowledge and the chilling effect. The Tasmanian devil cancer, devil facial tumour disease (DFTD), is a new and novel cancer, potentially providing many opportunities for innovative research. The contagious cancer hypothesis for DFTD is also novel. In the research it has sponsored, the Tasmanian government elected to follow this pathway, neglecting an alternative plausible hypothesis that toxins in the devils' environment may have played a role in the initiation or progression of the cancer. The studies were not viewed as opportunities to fill gaps in devil cancer knowledge, and remain undone.
At the time my research was conducted, the list contained only publications up to July 2011. It was updated on 13 August 2015. List available from http://www.tassiedevil.com.au/tasdevil.nsf/Research/439C797EFD63B24BCA257761002EB4D0 [accessed February 2016].
PBDEs persist in the environment and accumulate in living organisms. Toxicological testing indicates that these chemicals may cause liver toxicity, thyroid toxicity and neurodevelopmental toxicity.
Email dated 23 April 2007.
A limited version of the toxicology results is available from http://www.sourcewatch.org/images/d/d3/Tasmanian_devil_POPs_residues_in_fat%28new%29.pdf [accessed February 2016].
Email from DPIWE to NMI dated 11 April 2007.
Email from Alan Fletcher Research Station to DPIWE, 25 May 2007.
Personal communication with National Association of Testing Authorities, Brisbane, Queensland, 19 May 2009.
Save the Tasmanian devil website. Although it states the two reports are available (see links below), Moore's report does not appear. Available from http://www.tassiedevil.com.au/tasdevil.nsf/TheDisease/01E084030D8DE533CA2576D200176CC3 [accessed February 2016].