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Climate Change and the Loss of Potential

According to a new study by conservation biologists, climate change is dangerous not only to the existence of certain species, but also to genetic diversity, says Nature News' Virginia Gewin. According to a new study published in Nature Climate Change, DNA analyses of certain species have found "a vast amount of cryptic diversity" that may be affected as temperatures rise across the globe, Gewin says. The researchers studied aquatic insects — chosen because they are likely to be vulnerable to rising temperatures — and measured their genetic diversity by sequencing their mitochondrial genes. Each species was then divided into a number of "evolutionary significant units" to measure how many genetically distinct populations existed within each species, Gewin says. Using two models of climate change developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the team found that 79 percent of these evolutionary significant units are projected to become extinct by 2080, if climate change continues unabated. "This lost evolutionary potential could hinder species' ability to adapt to change," Gewin says.

The Scan

Booster for At-Risk

The New York Times reports that the US Food and Drug Administration has authorized a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for people over 65 or at increased risk.

Preprints OK to Mention Again

Nature News reports the Australian Research Council has changed its new policy and now allows preprints to be cited in grant applications.

Hundreds of Millions More to Share

The US plans to purchase and donate 500 million additional SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses, according to the Washington Post.

Nature Papers Examine Molecular Program Differences Influencing Neural Cells, Population History of Polynesia

In Nature this week: changes in molecular program during embryonic development leads to different neural cell types, and more.