The evolution of a defensive gland in beetles shows how organs can arise from novel cells carving out new functional niches for their neighbors.
Animals sculpt the optical properties of their tissues at the nanoscale to give themselves “structural colors.” New work is piecing together how they do it.
New work shows that histones, long treated as boring spools for DNA, sit at the center of the origin story of eukaryotes and continue to play important roles in evolution and disease.
Unusual proteins that can quickly fold into different shapes provide cells with a novel regulatory mechanism.
In grafted plants, shrunken chloroplasts can jump between species by slipping through unexpected gateways in cell walls.
Inside cells, droplets of biomolecules called condensates merge, divide and dissolve. Their dance may regulate vital processes.
Even genes essential for life can be caught in an evolutionary arms race that forces them to change or be replaced.
Carpenter ants need endosymbiotic bacteria to guide the early development of their embryos. New work has reconstructed how this deep partnership evolved.
Recent major surveys show that reductions in genomic complexity — including the loss of key genes — have successfully shaped the evolution of life throughout history.
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