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Attack of the Tree Clones

The nature-versus-nurture debate has been ongoing for years. Now a team of researchers has found that cloned trees raised in different environments react differently to droughts, even though they are identical, says the Los Angeles Times' Amina Khan. In a new study published in PNAS, the researchers write that they raised clones of three varieties of poplar trees — genetically identical but raised in different parts of Canada. In the case of the Walker and DN34 clones, trees grown in different environments reacted differently when deprived of water, Khan says. "Walker poplars raised in Alberta took two full days longer than their Saskatchewan siblings to respond to the simulated drought by closing up holes in their leaves, called stomata, to minimize water loss. And DN34 poplars raised in Manitoba closed their stomata two days sooner than DN34 poplars from Saskatchewan," she adds. The Okanese clones reacted the same in drought conditions, no matter where they were raised. The researchers say differences in gene activity could be responsible — Okanese poplar gene patterns match no matter where they are from whereas Walker and DN34 gene patterns differ based on origin.

The Scan

Missed Early Cases

A retrospective analysis of blood samples suggests early SARS-CoV-2 infections may have been missed in the US, the New York Times reports.

Limited Journal Editor Diversity

A survey finds low diversity among scientific and medical journal editors, according to The Scientist.

How Much of a Threat?

Science writes that need for a provision aimed at shoring up genomic data security within a new US bill is being questioned.

PNAS Papers on Historic Helicobacter Spread, Brain Development, C. difficile RNAs

In PNAS this week: Helicobacter genetic diversity gives insight into human migrations, gene expression patterns of brain development, and more.