DAILY DOSE: Fluorescent glowing fish are invading the Amazon; A grieving mother makes a difference.


If you’ve visited a pet shop during the past few years, you’ve probably seen a tank full of fluorescent fish that have been bred to glow without the help of lighting. These genetically engineered fish have now escaped into the wild and are showing signs of turning invasive. Per Science, “Fish genetically engineered to glow blue, green, or red under blacklight have been a big hit among aquarium lovers for years. But the fluorescent pet is not restricted to glass displays anymore. The red- and green-glowing versions of the modified zebrafish have escaped fish farms in southeastern Brazil and are multiplying in creeks in the Atlantic Forest, a new study shows. It is a rare example of a transgenic animal accidentally becoming established in nature, and a concern for biologists, who worry the exotic fish could threaten the local fauna in one of the most biodiverse spots on the planet.” It’s all fun and games until a genetically engineered glowing fish escapes into the wild. https://bit.ly/3LxAQ7S


Climate change is a danger on many levels. One of the most obvious ways our changing environment manifests itself is epidemiologically. Diseases are spreading to new areas at alarming speeds. Per the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “Although the impact will likely vary based on a variety of factors, some clear trends are emerging. High latitudes and altitudes seem poised for the most dramatic spikes in disease risk. Warmer and wetter conditions in these places have started to lure ticks and mosquitoes up mountainsides and across borders into areas once too cold and dry to support them. Some diseases are already shifting. The 2021 Lancet Countdown report, published in October, highlighted a 39% increase in the number of months suitable for malaria transmission in some highland areas of the world since the late 1950s. The area of coastline suitable for Vibrio bacteria, which can cause gastroenteritis, severe wound infections, and sepsis, also increased from 2011 to 2021 in several high-latitude regions according to the report, including the Baltics, the Atlantic Northeast, and the Pacific Northwest.” Those trends will only accelerate the way things are going. https://bit.ly/3rNOpbk


When Laura Gould lost her 15-month old daughter unexpectedly after putting her to bed, she was not satisfied with the results of the post-mortem which amounted to a shrug of the shoulders. She decided to do something about it. Per Science, “Gould co-founded a nonprofit foundation to support grieving parents, raise research funds, and increase awareness of sudden unexplained death in childhood (SUDC), a term used for children older than 12 months. In the United States, roughly 400 deaths fall into this category each year—about one-quarter as many as are labeled sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Two recent genetic analyses, one funded in part by Gould’s SUDC Foundation, now suggest potential causes for at least a small fraction of cases: mutations in genes associated with epilepsy, heart arrhythmias, and neurodevelopmental disorders.” It’s a great way to honor her daughter’s memory. https://bit.ly/367G1et


Even before the chaotic American withdrawal from Afghanistan, circumstances in the country were challenging. A recent outbreak of measles has not made things any easier, especially for families with young children. Per the World Health Organization, “From 1 January 2021 to 29 January 2022, 35 319 suspected measles cases were reported in Afghanistan, of which 3221 (9%) were laboratory-confirmed by IgM-ELISA in the seven reference laboratories (one national and six regional). Most of the suspected measles cases (91%) occurred among children less than 5 years of age. During the same period, 156 measles deaths were reported among the confirmed cases (CFR=4.8%), with more than 97% of the fatalities registered among children less than 5 years of age. Although the number of deaths is relatively low, the rapid rise in cases suggests that the trend of reported deaths will continue to increase sharply in the coming weeks.” https://bit.ly/3LyXs7R


Science and technology often play important roles in fighting crime. Recently, researchers used elephant tusks that have been poached to trace the origin of the contraband. Per the Associated Press, “As few as three major criminal groups are responsible for smuggling the vast majority of elephant ivory tusks out of Africa, according to a new study. Researchers used analysis of DNA from seized elephant tusks and evidence such as phone records, license plates, financial records and shipping documents to map trafficking operations across the continent and better understand who was behind the crimes. The study was published Monday in the journal Nature Human Behavior.” Conservation biologist Samuel Wasser, a study co-author, hopes the findings will help law enforcement officials target the leaders of these networks instead of low-level poachers who are easily replaced by criminal organizations. https://bit.ly/3oQtEtI

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.

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