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Genetic Linkage

Post-Election Health Effects … Not Just Psychological?

Buried in the lower right corner of last week’s New England Journal of Medicine – not up on the left, which spawns the headlines – appears “Health Effects of Dramatic Societal Events – Ramifications of the Recent Presidential Election.” David R. Williams, PhD, MPH, and Morgan M. Medlock, MD, M.Div, both from Harvard, describe “post-election health effects” and list ways clinicians can help their patients cope.

“Health effects,” rather than “syndrome” or “disorder,” suggests that the angst many of us have been feeling since November 9 isn’t a medical condition, but is a strange new normal. Others use stronger terms. Sarah Jones in Politicususa attributes the rape nightmares plaguing many women to Trump Traumatic Stress Disorder (TTSD). John Markowitz’s recent editorial “Anxiety in the Age of Trump” in Comprehensive Psychiatry attributes the “floods of patients” and “national – if not global – rising anxiety” to “Post-Trump Stress Disorder.” I prefer Jones’ TTSD, because the distress began well before the shock of the election. Read More 
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Wolf Evolution and "Settled Science"

Are the red and eastern wolves separate species, or hybrids with coyotes? And what has that got to do with climate change? Actually a lot, in illustrating what scientific inquiry is and what it isn’t.

COMPARING CANID GENOMES

A report in this week’s Science Advances questions conclusions of a 2016 comparison of genome sequences from 28 canids. The distinction between “species” and “hybrid” is of practical importance, because the Endangered Species Act circa 1973 doesn’t recognize hybrids. But DNA information can refine species designations — or muddy the waters.  Read More 
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Spinach Genome Reveals a Living Fossil

Imagine being spinach.

Sidelined in the produce section of a supermarket, bagged and bunched into a sad uniformity mere feet from the regal, multihued heirloom tomatoes; the purple, orange, and cream-colored cauliflowers; the myriad types of onions, potatoes, squashes and even peas, spinach plants sport a dark green sameness distinguishable only by leaf size.

A WHITER SHADE OF KALE

At farmer’s markets, the lone spinach nestles amongst an ever-growing cornucopia of hipster greens, the kale and arugula, chard and mustard.  Read More 
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