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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

Billions for Antivirals

The US is putting $3.2 billion toward a program to develop antivirals to treat COVID-19 in its early stages, the Wall Street Journal reports.

NFT of the Web

Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the World Wide Web, is auctioning its original source code as a non-fungible token, Reuters reports.

23andMe on the Nasdaq

23andMe's shares rose more than 20 percent following its merger with a special purpose acquisition company, as GenomeWeb has reported.

Science Papers Present GWAS of Brain Structure, System for Controlled Gene Transfer

In Science this week: genome-wide association study ties variants to white matter stricture in the brain, and more.