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Michael Bravo

There is a genetic difference between Pacific salmon that migrate from the ocean in the spring or summer to spawn and those that make the trip later in the fall, according to a recent study. The finding may have a big impact on conservation efforts along the West Coast.

Why it matters: Conservation groups have fought for the economically important and at-risk spring chinook and summer steelhead salmon populations on the Pacific Coast to be afforded protection under the Endangered Species Act. But that depends on whether they are considered genetically distinct and at risk of losing biodiversity and, until now, early migrators weren't confirmed to be unique from other groups of the fish. The technique could also be used to analyze other species of animals and plants that haven't been classified beyond the species level.

What they found: UC Davis researchers analyzed the DNA of early migrating salmon populations and found variation in a single gene is associated with early migration. Those mutations appear to have evolved only once, suggesting they "will not readily reevolve if lost," the researchers wrote.

Go deeper

Updated 48 mins ago - Health

COVID cases and deaths keep falling

Expand chart
Data: N.Y. Times; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

America’s coronavirus outbreak is rapidly improving as the Delta wave recedes, and vaccines for kids — which could become available within weeks — will help the situation improve even further.

By the numbers: Nationwide, the U.S. is now averaging about 79,000 new cases per day — a 22% drop over the past two weeks.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Updated 49 mins ago - Economy & Business

How the pandemic caused a corporate rebound

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

WeWork becomes a public company today worth more than $9 billion — a vindication of the expensive turnaround strategy employed after it spectacularly imploded in 2019. Like many companies that find themselves at death's door, that which didn't kill them made them stronger.

Why it matters: Hertz, Alamo Drafthouse, Airbnb, and Toast are among the currently-thriving companies that were shaken to the core in the early days of the pandemic — providing further evidence for the theory that, in the words of former Fast Company editor Bill Taylor, "companies can't be great unless they've almost failed."

2 hours ago - Technology

Facebook is a news media magnet

Expand chart
Data: Signal AI; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

New data finds that Facebook has been mentioned in more online stories in the U.S. in the past year than all of its major tech competitors combined.

Why it matters: Press scrutiny of Facebook has become so intense and negative that the tech giant is reportedly planning to rename itself as soon as next week to signal that it's more than just a social media company.

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