Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Farmed Release

Farming of Chinese giant salamanders is actually driving their extinction, the New York Times reports.

Though it adds that millions of salamanders are farmed for their meat in China, the salamanders on the farms differ from those in the wild. In a new Current Biology paper, researchers led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology's Jing Che report on their genetic analysis of 1,034 farmed salamanders and 70 wild ones in which they found there used to be five or more distinctive clusters of Chinese giant salamanders. But the farmed salamanders have become a single hybridized population, the researchers add.

Additionally, in a separate Current Biology paper, researchers led by Andrew Cunningham from the Zoological Society of London report the wild salamander population is depleted or functionally extinct at the sites they surveyed.

The Times adds that officials in China, recognizing the decline of wild Chinese giant salamanders, released farmed ones in a bid to boost their numbers. But both sets of researchers called this approach misguided as it could drive the extinction of any remaining wild populations. "These hybrids may create a big mess by changing the genetic makeup of locally adapted wild animals," Che tells the Times.

To save the Chinese giant salamander from extinction, Cunningham and his colleagues suggest that captive populations of salamanders from distinct genetic lineages be established.

The Scan

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.

Sequencing Analysis Examines Gene Regulatory Networks of Honeybee Soldier, Forager Brains

Researchers in Nature Ecology & Evolution find gene regulatory network differences between soldiers and foragers, suggesting bees can take on either role.

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish Cohort Uncovers New Genetic Loci Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

The study in Alzheimer's & Dementia highlighted known genes, but also novel ones with biological ties to Alzheimer's disease.

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.