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Everybody and Their Genomes

Climate change is affecting nearly all species on Earth and is even leading to genetic changes, the Guardian reports, citing a suite of recently published studies.

"It is reasonable to suggest that most species on Earth have been impacted by climate change in some way or another," the University of Florida's Bret Scheffers tells the paper. "Some species are negatively impacted and some species positively impacted."

For instance, the Guardian notes that woodland salamanders are becoming smaller, while marmot and martens are growing fatter because of longer growing seasons. And some of these changes are becoming enshrined in organisms' genomes: the water flea genome has changed in response to higher water temperatures and pink salmon genes are evolving for earlier migrations.

But this doesn't mean that these species are successfully adapting to the new climate reality, the Guardian adds, as, at the same time, other species are disappearing from certain regions and sometimes all together, and genetic diversity is being lost.

"If global warming continues, species that cannot change or move quickly enough may go globally extinct," John Wiens from the University of Arizona says.

The Scan

Machine Learning Helps ID Molecular Mechanisms of Pancreatic Islet Beta Cell Subtypes in Type 2 Diabetes

The approach helps overcome limitations of previous studies that had investigated the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic islet beta cells, the authors write in their Nature Genetics paper.

Culture-Based Methods, Shotgun Sequencing Reveal Transmission of Bifidobacterium Strains From Mothers to Infants

In a Nature Communications study, culture-based approaches along with shotgun sequencing give a better picture of the microbial strains transmitted from mothers to infants.

Microbial Communities Can Help Trees Adapt to Changing Climates

Tree seedlings that were inoculated with microbes from dry, warm, or cold sites could better survive drought, heat, and cold stress, according to a study in Science.

A Combination of Genetics and Environment Causes Cleft Lip

In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers investigate what combination of genetic and environmental factors come into play to cause cleft lip/palate.