How Genes Can Leap From Snakes to Frogs in Madagascar
The discovery of a hot spot for horizontal gene transfer draws attention to the possible roles of parasites and ecology in such changes.
Simple Gene Circuits Hint at How Stem Cells Find New Identities
Synthetic biology experiments suggest a “MultiFate” model for how genetically identical cells become the many different types found in complex organisms like us.
Ancient Genes for Symbiosis Hint at Mitochondria’s Origins
Was the addition of mitochondria a first step in the formation of complex cells or one of the last? A new study of bacteria tries to answer this contentious question in evolutionary biology.
Neural Noise Shows the Uncertainty of Our Memories
The electrical chatter of our working memories reflects our uncertainty about their contents.
Single Cells Evolve Large Multicellular Forms in Just Two Years
Researchers have discovered that environments favoring clumpy growth are all that’s needed to quickly transform single-celled yeast into complex multicellular organisms.
Sleep Evolved Before Brains. Hydras Are Living Proof.
Studies of sleep are usually neurological. But some of nature’s simplest animals suggest that sleep evolved for metabolic reasons, long before brains even existed.
Longevity Linked to Proteins That Calm Overexcited Neurons
New research makes a molecular connection between the brain and aging — and shows that overactive neurons can shorten life span.
The Body’s Clock Offers a Rhythmic Target to Viruses
Viruses and other parasites may sync with their host’s biological clock — or reset it — to gain an advantage.