How Global Warming Is Threatening Genetic Diversity

Read the full story at JSTOR Daily.

There is a huge unknown when it comes to protecting the meltwater stonefly and other species. Biologists are missing a huge piece of the puzzle — knowing which genetics will give species the evolutionary lift that allows them to adapt successfully to a warmer world. This hidden DNA and the possibly important traits it represents are known as “cryptic diversity,” and much of it is being lost, experts say, as the range of species contracts, fragments, and otherwise changes. Yet this DNA is vital because it contains information on different lineages and on species that are emerging, the cutting edge of evolution. Losing it will greatly complicate the task of assessing how climate change will affect biodiversity and what to protect.

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