By Losing Genes, Life Often Evolved More Complexity
Recent major surveys show that reductions in genomic complexity — including the loss of key genes — have successfully shaped the evolution of life throughout history.
Inherited Learning? It Happens, but How Is Uncertain
Studies suggest that epigenetics allows some learned adaptive responses to be passed down to new generations. The question is how.
Cell-Bacteria Mergers Offer Clues to How Organelles Evolved
Cells in symbiotic partnership, sometimes nested one within the other and functioning like organelles, can borrow from their host’s genes to complete their own metabolic pathways.
Viruses Can Scatter Their Genes Among Cells and Reassemble
Some viruses can replicate without infecting any one cell with all their genes.
Fragile DNA Enables New Adaptations to Evolve Quickly
If highly repetitive gene-regulating sequences in DNA are easily lost, that may explain why some adaptations evolve quickly and repeatedly.
Theorists Debate How ‘Neutral’ Evolution Really Is
For 50 years, evolutionary theory has emphasized the importance of neutral mutations rather than adaptive ones at the level of DNA. Real genomic data challenges that assumption.
Too Small for Big Muscles, Tiny Animals Use Springs
Elastic springs help tiny animals stay fast and strong. New work is finding what size critters must be to benefit from the springs.