Jordana Cepelewicz

Staff Writer

evolution

Simple Bacteria Offer Clues to the Origins of Photosynthesis

October 17, 2017

Studies of the energy-harvesting proteins in primitive cells suggest that key features of photosynthesis might have evolved a billion years earlier than scientists thought.

Cryo-electron microscopy
Abstractions blog

Supercool Protein Imaging Gets the Nobel Prize

October 4, 2017

This year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to researchers who made it possible to see proteins and other biomolecules at an atomic level of detail.

Clock
Abstractions blog

Nobel Prize Awarded for Biological Clock Discoveries

October 2, 2017

Three U.S. biologists share the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their research into the molecular mechanism that drives circadian rhythm.

Modern humans (at left) and Neanderthals (right)
evolution

Genetics Spills Secrets From Neanderthals’ Lost History

September 18, 2017

How many Neanderthals were there? Archaeology and genetics have given very different answers. A new study reconciles them and reveals the lost history of these ancient people — including an early brush with extinction.

Nigel Goldenfeld
Q&A

Seeing Emergent Physics Behind Evolution

August 31, 2017

Nigel Goldenfeld applies the physics of condensed matter to understand how evolution sprinted for the earliest life — and then slowed down.

Neurons and astrocytes
Abstractions blog

The Oldest Mini-Brains Have Lifelike Young Cells

August 29, 2017

“Organoid” brain tissue models grown in a lab for two years can help scientists study a critical period of development just before and after birth.

Lion, leopard, tiger
evolution

Interspecies Hybrids Play a Vital Role in Evolution

August 24, 2017

Hybrids, once treated as biological misfits, play a vital role in the evolution of many animal species. Now conservationists are trying to reconcile that truth with policies.

Evolving bird
genetics

Beating the Odds for Lucky Mutations

August 16, 2017

If DNA repair makes useful mutations more likely, it could accelerate cells’ adaptations to harsh environments.

Virus Hamiltonian Path
molecular biology

The Illuminating Geometry of Viruses

July 19, 2017

Mathematical insights into how RNA helps viruses pull together their protein shells could guide future studies of viral behavior and function.