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Biologists With Drones And Peanut Butter Pellets Are On A Mission To Help Ferrets

Enlarge this image Black-footed ferrets are the most endangered mammal in North America. Scientists in Montana are trying to save the ferrets by saving their main food source, prairie dogs. Kathryn Scott Osler/Denver Post via Getty Images hide caption toggle caption Kathryn Scott Osler/Denver Post via Getty Images In central Montana, drones are dropping peanut butter pellets on prairie dog colonies. It’s part of an effort by biologists to save North America’s most endangered mammal — the black-footed ferret (or as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service calls it, the…

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[In Depth] Sequencing all life captivates biologists

At a biogenomics meeting in Washington, D.C., last week, researchers publicly unveiled the Earth BioGenome Project (EBP). The audacious goal of the still-unfunded effort is to decipher the genomes of every species, starting with the 1.5 million named eukaryotes—the group of organisms that includes all plants, animals, and single-celled organisms such as amoebas. Researchers drew parallels to the Human Genome Project, which also began as an ambitious, controversial, and technically daunting proposal. The EBP would focus on the natural world, providing a better understanding of biodiversity by first sequencing in…

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