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Biology

evolution

A Surprise for Evolution in Giant Tree of Life

The largest evolutionary tree ever compiled leads researchers to conclude that chance mutation — not natural selection — drives the development of new species.

origins of life

How Structure Arose in the Primordial Soup

Life’s first epoch saw incredible advances — cells, metabolism and DNA, to name a few. Researchers are resurrecting ancient proteins to illuminate the biological dark ages.

evolution

Did Neurons Evolve Twice?

The comb jelly, a primitive marine creature, is forcing scientists to rethink how animals got their start.

Biology

Killer Virus Is Invading Koala DNA

An infection sweeping through Australia’s struggling koala population provides an unprecedented opportunity to explore how retroviruses insert themselves into the genome.

genomics

Genetic Geometry Takes Shape

Inside the cell’s nucleus, the double helix folds up in myriad loops and twists. The quest to unravel this structure is revealing the subtle genetic orchestration of all life on Earth.

evolution

Game Theory Calls Cooperation Into Question

A new solution to the prisoner’s dilemma, a classic game theory scenario, has created new puzzles in evolutionary biology.

Biology

Breakthrough DNA Editor Born of Bacteria

Interest in a powerful DNA editing tool called CRISPR has revealed that bacteria are far more sophisticated than anyone imagined.

Biology

Networks Reveal the Connections of Disease

Disease is the result of failure somewhere along the line in a complex dance of biological components. Now statistical physicists are using enormous databases of medical records to study connections between illnesses.

genetics

Machine Intelligence Cracks Genetic Controls

Scientists have begun to decipher the most difficult-to-read parts of the genome — the parts that don’t code for proteins. The new work reveals how errors in these genetic instructions can lead to disease.