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On Waste Plastics at Sea, She Finds Unique Microbial Multitudes

Maria-Luiza Pedrotti is illuminating the unseen worlds of plastic-eating bacteria that teem in massive ocean garbage patches.

Photo of Trichoplax adhaerens

World’s Simplest Animal Reveals Hidden Diversity

The first animal genus defined purely by genetic characters represents a new era for the sorting and naming of animals.

Thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum leaf

DNA Analysis Reveals a Genus of Plants Hiding in Plain Sight

Gene-sequence data is changing the way that botanists think about their classification schemes. A recent name-change for a common houseplant resulted from the discovery that it belonged in an overlooked genus.

Art for "To Heal Some Wounds, Adult Cells Turn More Fetal"
developmental biology

To Heal Some Wounds, Adult Cells Turn More Fetal

Once again, body cells reveal unexpected plasticity: In a newly discovered type of wound healing, which some researchers call “paligenosis,” adult cells revert to a more fetal state.

Art for "You Are Getting Sleepy — Tagged Proteins May Point to Why"

You Are Getting Sleepy — Tagged Proteins May Point to Why

The identification of SNIPPs, a set of proteins found primarily at the brain’s synapses, brings science closer to understanding why we need to sleep.

Art for "‘Functional Fingerprint’ May Identify Brains Over a Lifetime"

‘Functional Fingerprint’ May Identify Brains Over a Lifetime

A unique neurological “functional fingerprint” allows scientists to explore the influence of genetics, environment and aging on brain connectivity.

Abstractions blog

How Insulin Helped Create Ant Societies

Evolution may have coopted an ancient metabolic mechanism to set social insects on the path toward one of the most puzzling behaviors found in nature.

Art for "A Math Theory for Why People Hallucinate"

A Math Theory for Why People Hallucinate

Psychedelic drugs can trigger characteristic hallucinations, which have long been thought to hold clues about the brain’s circuitry. After nearly a century of study, a possible explanation is crystallizing.

Photo of Escherichia coli under a microscope
Abstractions blog

Swarming Bacteria Create an ‘Impossible’ Superfluid

Researchers explore a loophole that extracts useful energy from a fluid’s seemingly random motion. The secret? Sugar and asymmetry.