Jun 3, 2017

Rare species are leaving behind traces of DNA

Dario Lopez-Mills / AP

Rare species can be difficult to detect, but scientists are looking to environmental DNA (traces of cells from skin, feces, and hair) to pin them down, according to The Scientist.

What they found: There are billions of cells that organisms leave behind in their environment, and they act as a marker of which species have traveled through various areas. So far, scientists studying eDNA have discovered the only cave-dwelling salamander to exist in Europe and Yangtze finless porpoise in China's Yangtze River. Bighead and silver carp in Lake Michigan, and alien and Asian carp in the Illinois and Mississippi rivers were also detected early thanks to eDNA.

Why it matters: The eDNA is helping scientists discover rare species "that are some of the most elusive animals on Earth," per The Scientist. "eDNA represents a revolution over traditional monitoring methods," Kathryn Stewart, a postdoc at the University of Amsterdam who led the study, wrote in an email to The Scientist. It is "perfectly suited for studying this cryptic, elusive, and rare species."

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Minneapolis unrest as hundreds protest death of George Floyd

Protesters and police clash during demonstration on Wednesday over the death of George Floyd in custody outside the Third Police Precinct. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

Minneapolis police clashed for a second night with protesters demonstrating the death of George Floyd, an African American man who died in police custody.

The latest: Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz tweeted late Wednesday that the situation where the clashes were taking place was "extremely dangerous" as he urged people to leave the area. There were multiple news reports of police firing tear gas at protesters and of some people looting a Target store.

Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers sue CVS, alleging drug pricing fraud

Photo: John Lamparski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Six Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers have sued CVS Health, alleging the pharmacy chain overcharged them based on "artificially inflated prices" for generic drugs and concealed the true cash prices of those drugs.

The big picture: CVS has faced legal scrutiny over its cash discount programs since 2015, and this lawsuit adds big names to a mounting problem.

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand has only eight active novel coronavirus cases and no COVID-19 patients in hospital after another day of zero new infections. However, the death toll rose to 22.

Zoom in: A top health official told a briefing a 96-year-old woman "was regarded to having recovered from COVID-19 at the time of her death, and COVID-19 is not recorded as the primary cause of her death on her death certificate." But it was decided to include her in the overall tally of deaths related to the virus.