What's up in

Biology

Abstractions blog

Faster Evolution on a Warmer Earth

When life first emerged roughly 4 billion years ago, DNA may have been a much more malleable molecule.

universality

A Bird’s-Eye View of Nature’s Hidden Order

Scientists are exploring a mysterious pattern, found in birds’ eyes, boxes of marbles and other surprising places, that is neither regular nor random.

Abstractions blog

Hope That an Old Drug Might Treat Zika

Scientists are having a difficult time finding a treatment for the Zika virus in part because so few drugs are safe for pregnant women. But one antibiotic has shown promise.

neuroscience

New Insights Into How Zika Harms the Brain

Researchers are racing to understand how the Zika virus causes birth defects. Their first results have revealed tantalizing clues about how the virus interferes with the developing brain — and how it might be stopped.

Abstractions blog

New Lizard Shows Evolution’s Predictability

A newly discovered anole on the island of Hispaniola confirms that the buildup of ecological communities can follow predictable patterns.

Q&A

The Maestro of Memory Manipulation

The neuroscientist Sheena Josselyn can evoke and erase memories in mice using new tools that precisely control the brain.

Abstractions blog

How to Grow Metal-Eating Microbes

Metal-eating microbes get energy from rocks and could teach us about life on other worlds — but first scientists had to learn how to grow them in the lab.

microbiology

New Life Found That Lives Off Electricity

Scientists have figured out how microbes can suck energy from rocks. Such lifeforms might be more widespread than anyone anticipated.

Abstractions blog

Interstellar Find Adds Life to Old Debate

Figuring out how these molecules form in the deep recesses of interstellar space might illuminate the origins of one of life’s distinguishing features.