Hedgehog fortunes The human tree
The release of a new report, the State of Britain’s Hedgehogs 2022, has revealed that the nation’s hedgehog populations have continued to decline in rural areas by between 30 and 75 per cent nationally since 2000. More positively, however, the report also shows that urban hedgehog populations appear to have stabilised and might even be beginning to recover. Data collected between 1981 and 2020 by five ongoing surveys showed that Britain’s hedgehogs have undergone a long historic decline, but now, the huge differences between urban and rural populations are becoming increasingly apparent.
Researchers have moved a step closer to producing a complete map of genetic relationships among humans. When complete, the map will show how all individuals across the world are related to each other. The sheer scale of the data set has proved problematic in the past, but the University of Oxford’s
Big Data Institute has now published a new method that can easily combine data from multiple sources and scale to accommodate millions of genome sequences. Yan Wong, an evolutionary geneticist at the institute, explained: ‘We have basically built a huge family tree – a genealogy for all of humanity that models as exactly as we can the history that generated all of the genetic variation we find in humans today. This genealogy allows us to see how every person’s genetic sequence relates to every other, along all the points of the genome.’