Carrie Arnold

Contributing Writer

520px photo of a dingo
evolution

A Domesticated Dingo? No, but Some Are Getting Less Wild

Near an Australian desert mining camp, wild dingoes are losing their fear of humans. Their genetic and behavioral changes may echo those from the domestication of dogs.

During fertilization, eggs may play an unexpected role in choosing which sperm offer the best genetic match.
genetics

Choosy Eggs May Pick Sperm for Their Genes, Defying Mendel’s Law

The oldest law of genetics says that gametes combine randomly, but experiments hint that sometimes eggs select sperm actively for their genetic assets.

Birds and mitonuclear conflict
evolution

Genetic Struggles Within Cells May Create New Species

Mitonuclear conflict — a struggle between the genes in a cell’s nucleus and its mitochondria — might sometimes split species in two.

microbiology

Building Codes for Bacterial Cities

Hydrodynamics and competition guide the architectural design of biofilm fortresses.

Larger timescales give a clearer picture of evolution.
evolution

Evolution Runs Faster on Short Timescales

Examine evolution over the course of years or centuries, and you’ll find that it progresses much more quickly than it does over geologic time.

genomics

Genetic Architects Untwist DNA’s Turns

Researchers have used the gene-editing tool CRISPR to manipulate the way that DNA coils up inside the cell — another step in the quest to understand how the genome’s 3-D structure impacts its function.

Biology

The Mutant Genes Behind the Black Death

Only a few genetic changes were enough to change an ordinary stomach bug into the bacteria responsible for the plague.

Biology

How Mutant Viral Swarms Spread Disease

A new understanding of viral swarms is helping researchers predict how viruses will evolve and where disease is likely to spread.

origins of life

Hints of Life’s Start Found in a Giant Virus

Newly discovered specimens support a more ancient origin for viruses, perhaps all the way back to the origins of life.

About the author

Carrie Arnold is a freelance health and science writer living in Virginia. She covers all aspects of the living world for publications like National Geographic, Scientific American, Discover, New Scientist and Women’s Health.