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Biology

Colorized scanning electron micrograph of a T lymphocyte.
Abstractions blog

Immune Cells Measure Time to Identify Foreign Proteins

June 3, 2019

Immunologists confirm an old hunch: T-cells identify what belongs in the body by timing how long they can bind to it.

Art for "The Body’s Clock Offers a Rhythmic Target to Viruses"
chronobiology

The Body’s Clock Offers a Rhythmic Target to Viruses

May 30, 2019

Viruses and other parasites may sync with their host’s biological clock — or reset it — to gain an advantage.

Art for "Ancient DNA Yields Snapshots of Vanished Ecosystems"
genomics

Ancient DNA Yields Snapshots of Vanished Ecosystems

May 29, 2019

Surviving fragments of genetic material preserved in sediments allow scientists to see the full diversity of past life — even microbes.

Illustration: a virus broken up into parts over several cells
viruses

Viruses Can Scatter Their Genes Among Cells and Reassemble

May 21, 2019

Some viruses can replicate without infecting any one cell with all their genes.

Art for "In Ecology Studies and Selfless Ants, He Finds Hope for the Future"
Q&A

In Ecology Studies and Selfless Ants, He Finds Hope for the Future

May 15, 2019

For more than six decades, the influential biologist Edward O. Wilson has drawn connections between evolution, ecology and behavior, often sparking controversies inside and outside of science.

Art for "Rapid Oxygen Changes Fueled an Explosion in Ancient Animal Diversity"
Abstractions blog

Rapid Oxygen Changes Fueled an Explosion in Ancient Animal Diversity

May 9, 2019

Skyrocketing animal diversity a half-billion years ago was linked to spikes and dips in marine oxygen levels, according to a detailed geological study.

Art for "Brains Speed Up Perception by Guessing What’s Next"
neuroscience

Brains Speed Up Perception by Guessing What’s Next

May 2, 2019

Your expectations shape and quicken your perceptions. A new model that explains how that happens also suggests it’s time to update theories about sensory perception and decision making.

Art for "Scientists Discover Nearly 200,000 Kinds of Ocean Viruses"
Abstractions blog

Scientists Discover Nearly 200,000 Kinds of Ocean Viruses

April 25, 2019

New work raises the estimated diversity of viruses in the seas more than twelvefold and lays the groundwork for a better understanding of their impact on global nutrient cycles.

Art for "New Turmoil Over Weighing Genes’ Share of Complex Traits"
genomics

New Turmoil Over Predicting the Effects of Genes

April 23, 2019

Promising efforts at disentangling the effects of genes and the environment on complicated traits may have been confounded by statistical problems.