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Biology

The dizzying network of interactions within microbe communities can defy analysis. But a new approach simplifies the math and makes progress possible.
microbiology

Simpler Math Tames the Complexity of Microbe Networks

The dizzying network of interactions within microbe communities can defy analysis. But a new approach simplifies the math and makes progress possible.

By developing new tools for visualizing subcellular structure and activity in molecular detail, Ed Boyden advances on his goal of understanding how the brain works.
Q&A

A Neurobiologist Thinks Big — and Small

By developing new tools for visualizing subcellular structure and activity in molecular detail, Ed Boyden advances on his goal of understanding how the brain works.

Compact genomes and tiny cells gave flowering plants an edge over competing flora. This discovery hints at a broader evolutionary principle.
Abstractions blog

With ‘Downsized’ DNA, Flowering Plants Took Over the World

Compact genomes and tiny cells gave flowering plants an edge over competing flora. This discovery hints at a broader evolutionary principle.

Evolution settled on a genetic code that uses four letters to name 20 amino acids. Synthetic biologists adding new bases to DNA will be free to improve on nature — if they can.
synthetic biology

Is a Bigger Genetic Code Better? Get Ready to Find Out

Evolution settled on a genetic code that uses four letters to name 20 amino acids. Synthetic biologists adding new bases to DNA will be free to improve on nature — if they can.

Corina Tarnita deciphers bizarre patterns in the soil created by competing life-forms.
Q&A

A Mathematician Who Decodes the Patterns Stamped Out by Life

Corina Tarnita deciphers bizarre patterns in the soil created by competing life-forms.

For decades, an origin-of-life story starring RNA has prevailed. New research may be shaking that theory’s hold on our understanding of life’s beginnings.
origins of life

The End of the RNA World Is Near, Biochemists Argue

For decades, an origin-of-life story starring RNA has prevailed. New research may be shaking that theory’s hold on our understanding of life’s beginnings.

Nobel laureate Susumu Tonegawa’s lab is overturning old assumptions about how memories form, how recall works and whether lost memories might be restored from “silent engrams.”
neuroscience

Light-Triggered Genes Reveal the Hidden Workings of Memory

Nobel laureate Susumu Tonegawa’s lab is overturning old assumptions about how memories form, how recall works and whether lost memories might be restored from “silent engrams.”

The rapid, unorthodox emergence of a new finch in the Galápagos hints that speciation isn’t rare. New hybrid species may quietly appear and disappear without anyone noticing.
Abstractions blog

New Bird Species Arises From Hybrids, as Scientists Watch

The rapid, unorthodox emergence of a new finch in the Galápagos hints that speciation isn’t rare. New hybrid species may quietly appear and disappear without anyone noticing.

To discover our species’ deep history and to shape its future health, we should learn from the microbes that accompanied us on our evolutionary journey.
Quantized Columns

What Bacteria Can Tell Us About Human Evolution

To discover our species’ deep history and to shape its future health, we should learn from the microbes that accompanied us on our evolutionary journey.