What effects does climate change have on the genetic diversity of living organisms? In a new study, researchers studied the genome of the alpine marmot. Results were unexpected: the species was found to be the least genetically diverse of any wild mammal studied to date. The alpine marmot has lost its genetic diversity during ice-age related climate events and been unable to recover its diversity since.
Researchers have sequenced the genome of a narwhal, the Arctic whale famous for the horn-like tusk protruding from its forehead. Their work finds that compared to other Arctic marine mammals, narwhals have low genetic diversity, which typically indicates a species is struggling. However, narwhal populations number in the hundreds of thousands — but researchers warn they are still vulnerable to climate change and human activities in the Arctic.