OH Digest: Long-life secrets from a tortoise, the health risks of a changing climate, and more

OH Digest: Long-life secrets from a tortoise, the health risks of a changing climate, and more

The genetic code of Lonesome George, the last of the Pinta Galapagos tortoises, could contain insight about what leads to longer lifespans. (Photo credit: FlickrCC/DavidCook)

By Jacob Williamson-Rea

Our weekly round-up compiles stories and news, both from here at Penn and around the world, that highlight the intersection of animal, environmental, and human health.

Seeking clues to longevity in Lonesome George’s genes
The New York Times, Dec. 8, 2018
Lonesome George, the last surviving Galapagos Pinta Island tortoise, died in 2012 after living for more than a century. Since then, researchers have been analyzing his genetic code in hopes of better understanding what allowed for his impressive lifespan.

How climate change is challenging health care
The Atlantic, Dec. 6, 2018
Climate change will make people sicker, increase the frequency and intensity of extreme weather, and expand the range of diseases caused by mosquitoes and ticks, according to a recent report published in The Lancent, a public-health journal.

‘Planet of the chickens:’ How the bird took over the world
BBC News, Dec. 12, 2018
Human activity has dominated our planet. This includes what we eat: The Earth is home to more than 23 billion chickens. But as supermarket-ready chicken populations have increased, wild bird populations have decreased, amplifying the negative consequences of human activity on the natural world.

Five years of record warmth intensify Arctic’s transformation
Scientific American, Dec. 12, 2018
The Arctic experienced its second-warmest year ever, as reported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s yearly Arctic Report Card. These changes are affecting animal populations such as wild caribou and reindeer, which have each plummeted by more than 50 percent since 1990.

Tourists may be making Antarctica’s penguins sick
Science, Dec. 13, 2018
Researchers have discovered human-linked pathogens in Antarctic bird poop. This indicates that the previously isolated animals are prone to our infections, which, in extreme cases, could lead to population collapse and extinction.