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Biology

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A Map of Human History, Hidden in DNA

The computational biologist John Novembre uses our genetic code to rewrite the history of humanity.

Larger timescales give a clearer picture of evolution.
evolution

Evolution Runs Faster on Short Timescales

Examine evolution over the course of years or centuries, and you’ll find that it progresses much more quickly than it does over geologic time.

evolution

Why Did Life Move to Land? For the View

The ancient creatures who first crawled onto land may have been lured by the informational benefit that comes from seeing through air.

Clock
Abstractions blog

How Circadian Clocks Differ From Sleep

The circadian clock is in nearly every cell, and researchers have untangled many of its secrets. But sleep has been harder to pin down.

Photo of a sleeping rat with a teddy bear
chronobiology

Researchers Tap a Sleep Switch in the Brain

Powerful new experiments have uncovered some of the molecular underpinnings of sleep.

Uca vocans - fiddler crab
developmental biology

How Life Turns Asymmetric

Scientists are uncovering how our bodies — and everything within them — tell right from left.

Illustration: life as a computation efficiently storing & using predictive info
information theory

How Life (and Death) Spring From Disorder

Life was long thought to obey its own set of rules. But as simple systems show signs of lifelike behavior, scientists are arguing about whether this apparent complexity is all a consequence of thermodynamics.

Photo of raindrops on a window by Philip Kraaijenbrink
Abstractions blog

Droplets That ‘Come to Life’

Life might have originated in droplets that behave surprisingly like living cells.