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Biology

microbiology

Building Codes for Bacterial Cities

Hydrodynamics and competition guide the architectural design of biofilm fortresses.

Virus Hamiltonian Path
molecular biology

The Illuminating Geometry of Viruses

Mathematical insights into how RNA helps viruses pull together their protein shells could guide future studies of viral behavior and function.

Missing Mutations Suggest a Reason for Sex
molecular biology

Missing Mutations Suggest a Reason for Sex

Sex might help natural selection purge excessive mistakes from our genes.

GFAP staining in glial cells, neurofilament protein in axons and DNA in cell nuclei
Abstractions blog

Cell Atlases Reveal Biology’s Frontiers

New techniques expose unexpected diversity within seemingly uniform tissues.

Jessica Flack
Q&A

How Nature Solves Problems Through Computation

The evolutionary biologist Jessica Flack seeks the computational rules that groups of organisms use to solve problems.

evolution

Can Microbes Encourage Altruism?

If gut bacteria can sway their hosts to be selfless, it could answer a riddle that goes back to Darwin.

Tiny parasitoid wasps
evolution

Moonlighting Genes Evolve for a Venomous Job

An unexpected mechanism allows wasps to rapidly co-opt genes for new toxic functions.

evolution

The Thorny Truth About Spine Evolution

A definitive explanation for why plants evolved spines remains elusive, and human biases compound the problem.

Sylvia Earle in one-person submersible DeepWorker
Abstractions blog

Sylvia Earle Is Not Done Exploring

The legendary marine biologist discusses why she’s excited about the coming era of ocean science, the shortsightedness of maritime exploitation and diving in the Arctic in her 80s.