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Biology

genetics

A Secret Flexibility Found in Life’s Blueprints

A new study reveals that individual genes can create many different versions of the molecular machinery that powers the cell.

Q&A

The Evolutionary Argument Against Reality

The cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman believes that evolution and quantum mechanics conspire to make objective reality an illusion.

neuroscience

Mapping the Brain to Build Better Machines

A project to decipher the brain’s learning rules could revolutionize machine learning.

synthetic biology

In Newly Created Life-Form, a Major Mystery

Scientists have created a synthetic organism that possesses only the genes it needs to survive. But they have no idea what roughly a third of those genes do.

neuroscience

The Beasts That Keep the Beat

New insights from neuroscience — aided by a small zoo’s worth of dancing animals — are revealing the biological origins of rhythm.

Q&A

In Warm, Greasy Puddles, the Spark of Life?

The biologist David Deamer proposes that life evolved from a collection of interacting molecules, probably in a pool in the shadow of a volcano.

ecology

A Timely Fix for a Grand Theory of Nature

A disarmingly simple model of ecology does everything well — except predict how rapidly nature can change. Can it become more realistic while still avoiding all of biology’s messy complexities?

Quantized Columns

Deep Secrets and the Thrill of Discovery

The biologist Sean B. Carroll rediscovers the scientific thrill of an unexpected revelation.

origins of life

How to Build Life in a Pre-Darwinian World

Perhaps chemistry played a more instrumental role in the origin of life than scientists thought.