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How Many Giraffes Do You See? And You Are Sure They Are Pulling a Sleigh?

Over at Living the Scientific Life, blogger GrrlScientist summarizes the new paper by UCLA's David Brown and his colleagues that delves into ancient questions of West African giraffe speciation, i.e., how many species are there? Taxonomists had settled on "one" (Giraffa camelopardalis) as the answer, but Brown et al. in BMC Biology used mitochondrial DNA and nuclear microsatellite loci DNA to demonstrate that there are at least six, and possibly as many as eleven, distinct species, instead of a series of subspecies.

And if you harbor any doubts about whether the holiday season is upon us, follow GrrlScientist's comments thread for a thorough analysis of how many giraffe necks, therefore, must have been protruding from the portholes of Noah's Ark.

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.