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The Saharan cousin of Mediterranean olive trees remains largely unknown. However, this subspecies (called the Laperinne's olive tree) is of great interest for several reasons. IRD researchers and their partners showed that its longevity is ensured by its original vegetative reproduction. Extremely drought-resistant, this "relict" tree could act as a genetic resource to improve its domestic counterparts, provided conservation actions are implemented to prevent its disappearance.
Will we soon be forced to eat jellyfish? Since the beginning of the 2000s, these gelatinous creatures have invaded many of the world's seas, like the Japan Sea, the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, etc. Is it a cyclic phenomenon, caused by changes in marine currents or even global warming? Until now, the causes remained unknown. A new study conducted by IRD researchers and its partners, published in Bulletin of marine science, exposes overfishing as the main factor.
In order to deal with the current biodiversity crisis, the policy and scientific choices made over the past 20 years have led to the development of global assessment, management and conservation tools for living organisms. Such
standardisation of environmental policies and instruments tends to marginalise cultivated tropical ecosystems and their related practices. This state of affairs was criticised by a multi-disciplinary team of the IRD and its partners(
1) in the Conservation Letters
journal, based on work conducted in Laos and Madagascar.
The researchers demonstrated how the standardisation of conservation methods leads to a decline in species diversity and local knowledge. Agroecosystems( 2), which are reservoirs of biodiversity and account for 30% of the earth's surface, should receive far more attention from international programmes.
According to several studies( 1), more and more children around the world are separated from their homes and placed in residential facilities. However, most of them are neither orphaned nor abandoned: they are placed into these institutions due to financial or family difficulties, as is revealed by a new survey conducted in Madagascar. In a context of philanthropic support and the high demand for international adoption, the child protection role of these organisations is thus diverted. In order to guarantee "children's best interests" by keeping them within their families( 2), efforts must be focused on the fight against poverty and the reduced stigmatization of certain children.
In Africa, more than 25 million people, most of them women, are currently infected by the AIDS virus. However, a study conducted by Epicentre( 1) and IRD researchers shows that men are less responsive to treatment. The provision of healthcare is intended to restore the level of lymphocyte cells, called T-CD4, reduced by HIV. Based on 13,000 patients monitored through four programmes carried out by Médecins sans frontières France in Malawi, Uganda and Kenya, the study shows that the reconstitution of these white blood cells is slower in men than in women.
Due to stigmatisation and work- and transport-related constraints, among others, men often receive healthcare at a later stage and are less responsive to treatment. However, this gender-based difference could also stem from biological causes, such as physiologically lower rates of T-CD4 lymphocytes.
This study underlines the fact that men should therefore receive special attention from programmes aimed at fighting the disease.