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Among the Butterflies

DNA barcoding has enabled researchers to uncover new species that had previously been clumped together with other, similar species, suggesting the Earth has greater biological diversity than thought, the Guardian reports.

For instance, it notes that University of Pennsylvania's Daniel Janzen had long been baffled by the diversity he observed among the two-barred flasher caterpillar Astraptes fulgerator. With the development of DNA barcoding by University of Guelph's Paul Hebert, Janzen found that there were in fact 10 different species among his samples. As the Guardian add, genetically distinct species have likewise since been found among aloe, bats, chameleons, and more, many of which may be endangered.

"DNA barcoding is a tool that allows us to detect differences among species at a finer scale than before, like a microscope allows us to see fine details of surface structure that are invisible to the naked eye," Brian Brown from the LA Natural History Museum tells the Guardian. He adds that the approach "is showing that the world is even more wonderfully biodiverse than we suspected."

The Scan

Renewed Gain-of-Function Worries

The New York Times writes that the pandemic is renewing concerns about gain-of-function research.

Who's Getting the Patents?

A trio of researchers has analyzed gender trends in biomedical patents issued between 1976 and 2010 in the US, New Scientist reports.

Other Uses

CBS Sunday Morning looks at how mRNA vaccine technology could be applied beyond SARS-CoV-2.

PLOS Papers Present Analysis of Cervicovaginal Microbiome, Glycosylation in Model Archaea, More

In PLOS this week: functional potential of the cervicovaginal microbiome, glycosylation patterns in model archaea, and more.