+ All Categories
Home > Documents > 60 Seconds

60 Seconds

Date post: 04-Jan-2017
Category:
Upload: dinhtram
View: 214 times
Download: 0 times
Share this document with a friend
of 1 /1
12 November 2011 | NewScientist | 5 ELEA DUMAS/WORKBOOK/GETTY IS IT time to let some threatened species go extinct? The heretical notion is worthy of consideration, says a majority of conservationists contacted in a poll. Of 583 questioned, 60 per cent agreed that criteria should be established for deciding which species to abandon in order to focus on saving others (Conservation Biology, DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2011.01772.x). Murray Rudd of the University of York, UK, who ran the survey, says the subject has been somewhat taboo until recently. Most large conservation organisations, he adds, already have checklists for prioritising their efforts. We will inevitably lose species, says Jean-Christophe Vié of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature in Geneva, Switzerland. “But there will be disagreement about priorities. We can’t save all 17,000 species under threat, so we must choose, and that depends on many parameters.” Making that choice will not be straightforward. As Rudd puts it: “Should it be how unique a species is genetically, how useful it is economically, or whether lots of species can be saved at once?” Let species die? NEXT time you find yourself contemplating a meal of frogs legs, consider this: the global amphibian trade that brought them to your plate may have created the lethal chytrid fungus, which is decimating frogs around the planet. Amphibian quarantine may be the only way of slowing the spread of the disease. Rhys Farrer of Imperial College London and colleagues sequenced the genomes of 20 samples of the offending fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), collected on five continents. Sixteen were genetically identical, belonging to a single strain called BdGPL that had spread to all five continents. Tests on tadpoles showed that BdGPL was extremely virulent (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1111915108). BdGPL formed when two strains mated, some time in the past 100 years. The simplest explanation is that the 20th-century pet and food trade enabled the two strains to meet, says Farrer’s supervisor Matthew Fisher. He advocates introducing quarantines for all imported amphibians and only allowing animals to stay in a country if they are not infected. The two places in most urgent need of protection are Madagascar and south-east Asia, both hotspots of amphibian diversity and so far clear of BdGPL. If BdGPL reaches these places, it could quickly devastate their frogs. JOEL SARTORE/NGS Cost of carbon Australia will put a price on carbon from July 2012, after its Clean Energy Act squeezed through the country’s parliament on Monday. The nation’s 500 most polluting companies will be required to pay A$23 (£15) per tonne of carbon they emit. First feather was black Archaeopteryx, an ancestor of modern birds, had black feathers. Pigment-producing structures are preserved in a single Archaeopteryx feather found in 1861. Ryan Carney at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, compared them with structures in living birds to reveal the feather’s colour, he told the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, last week. Super settlement British drug firm GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to pay $3 billion to settle several disputes with the US government over the sale and marketing of drugs. The disputes included a claim that GSK had illegally marketed the antidepressant Wellbutrin as a slimming aid. The exact terms of the settlement are now being worked out. ET no home No evidence exists that aliens have ever “contacted or engaged any member of the human race”, and nor is there evidence that life exists “outside our planet”. So said the White House in response to two petitions this week calling on the US government to admit to any contact with aliens. Sick? US? Chronic and seriously ill patients fare worse in the US than in other industrialised countries, a survey of 18,000 patients in 11 rich nations has concluded. The New York based Commonwealth Fund found that 42 per cent of the Americans polled couldn’t afford the treatment they needed, at least twice the comparable rates elsewhere. Doing the backstroke?Frog fungus clue Emissions way up “We can’t save all species under threat, so we must choose, and that won’t be straightforward” “Quarantine should be introduced for all imported amphibians, with animals only staying if uninfected” A MONSTER leap in carbon dioxide emissions in 2010 has dented but not destroyed optimism that we can avoid the worst effects of climate change. More CO 2 was emitted in 2010 than in previous years, according to the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Worse, emissions were 5.9 per cent higher than in 2009 – the biggest jump on record. The rise follows falls in both the price of coal and average winter temperatures in the northern hemisphere. Both have encouraged leading economies to drop their green intentions, according to a new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Leo Johnson, PwC’s head of sustainability strategy, thinks investing in renewable energy in emerging economies could still make a difference, though. “It is all to play for,” he says. 60 SECONDS Fizzy heavenFor daily news stories, visit newscientist.com/news
Transcript
Page 1: 60 Seconds

12 November 2011 | NewScientist | 5

ElEa

Du

ma

s/w

ork

boo

k/g

Ett

y

IS IT time to let some threatened species go extinct? The heretical notion is worthy of consideration, says a majority of conservationists contacted in a poll.

Of 583 questioned, 60 per cent agreed that criteria should be established for deciding which species to abandon in order to focus on saving others (Conservation Biology, DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2011.01772.x). Murray Rudd of the University of York, UK, who ran the survey, says the subject has been somewhat taboo until recently. Most large conservation organisations, he adds, already have checklists for prioritising their efforts.

We will inevitably lose species, says Jean-Christophe Vié of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature in Geneva, Switzerland. “But there will be disagreement about priorities. We can’t save all 17,000 species under threat, so we must choose, and that depends on many parameters.”

Making that choice will not be straightforward. As Rudd puts it: “Should it be how unique a species is genetically, how useful it is economically, or whether lots of species can be saved at once?”

Let species die?

NEXT time you find yourself contemplating a meal of frogs legs, consider this: the global amphibian trade that brought them to your plate may have created the lethal chytrid fungus, which is decimating frogs around the planet. Amphibian quarantine may be the only way of slowing the spread of the disease.

Rhys Farrer of Imperial College London and colleagues sequenced the genomes of 20 samples

of the offending fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), collected on five continents. Sixteen were genetically identical, belonging to a single strain called BdGPL that had spread to all five continents. Tests on tadpoles showed that BdGPL was extremely virulent (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1111915108).

BdGPL formed when two strains mated, some time in the past 100 years. The simplest explanation is that the 20th-century pet and food trade enabled the two strains to meet, says Farrer’s supervisor Matthew Fisher. He advocates introducing quarantines for all

imported amphibians and only allowing animals to stay in a country if they are not infected.

The two places in most urgent need of protection are Madagascar and south-east Asia, both hotspots of amphibian diversity and so far clear of BdGPL. If BdGPL reaches these places, it could quickly devastate their frogs.

“Quote to go in here over four lines range left like this Quote to go in her like this xxxxx”

JoEl

sa

rto

rE/N

gs

Cost of carbon Australia will put a price on carbon from July 2012, after its Clean Energy Act squeezed through the country’s parliament on Monday. The nation’s 500 most polluting companies will be required to pay A$23 (£15) per tonne of carbon they emit.

First feather was blackArchaeopteryx, an ancestor of modern birds, had black feathers. Pigment-producing structures are preserved in a single Archaeopteryx feather found in 1861. Ryan Carney at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, compared them with structures in living birds to reveal the feather’s colour, he told the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, last week.

Super settlementBritish drug firm GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to pay $3 billion to settle several disputes with the US government over the sale and marketing of drugs. The disputes included a claim that GSK had illegally marketed the antidepressant Wellbutrin as a slimming aid. The exact terms of the settlement are now being worked out.

ET no homeNo evidence exists that aliens have ever “contacted or engaged any member of the human race”, and nor is there evidence that life exists “outside our planet”. So said the White House in response to two petitions this week calling on the US government to admit to any contact with aliens.

Sick? US? Chronic and seriously ill patients fare worse in the US than in other industrialised countries, a survey of 18,000 patients in 11 rich nations has concluded. The New York based Commonwealth Fund found that 42 per cent of the Americans polled couldn’t afford the treatment they needed, at least twice the comparable rates elsewhere.

–Doing the backstroke?–

Frog fungus clue

Emissions way up

“We can’t save all species under threat, so we must choose, and that won’t be straightforward”

“Quarantine should be introduced for all imported amphibians, with animals only staying if uninfected”

A MONSTER leap in carbon dioxide emissions in 2010 has dented but not destroyed optimism that we can avoid the worst effects of climate change.

More CO2 was emitted in 2010 than in previous years, according to the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Worse, emissions were 5.9 per cent higher than in 2009 – the biggest jump on record.

The rise follows falls in both the price of coal and average winter temperatures in the northern hemisphere. Both have encouraged leading economies to drop their green intentions, according to a new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Leo Johnson, PwC’s head of sustainability strategy, thinks investing in renewable energy in emerging economies could still make a difference, though. “It is all to play for,” he says.

60 SEcondS

–Fizzy heaven–

For daily news stories, visit newscientist.com/news

111112_N_Upfronts.indd 5 8/11/11 17:27:34

Recommended