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Abstractions blog

What a Newfound Kingdom Means for the Tree of Life

Neither animal, plant, fungus nor familiar protozoan, a strange microbe that sits in its own “supra-kingdom” of life foretells incredible biodiversity yet to be discovered by new sequencing technologies.

Abstractions blog

What Defines a Stem Cell? Scientists Rethink the Answer

As it becomes clear that the body’s cells have more diverse regenerative capabilities than expected, experts have had to reconsider their approach to stem cell research.

Art for "Biology and Computer Science Explore Algorithmic Evolution"
mathematical biology

Mathematical Simplicity May Drive Evolution’s Speed

Some researchers are using a complexity framework thought to be purely theoretical to understand evolutionary dynamics in biological and computational systems.

Art for "‘Lava-Lamp’ Proteins Inside Cells May Protect and Regulate"
cell biology

‘Lava-Lamp’ Proteins May Help Cells Cheat Death

With proteins that reversibly self-assemble into droplets, cells may control their metabolism — and harden themselves against harsh conditions.


Should Evolution Treat Our Microbes as Part of Us?

How does evolution select the fittest “individuals” when they are ecosystems made up of hosts and their microbiomes? Biologist debate the need to revise theories.

Art for "Stem Cells Remember Tissues’ Past Injuries"
developmental biology

Stem Cells Remember Tissues’ Past Injuries

Stem cells seem to retain memories of old injuries to improve future healing. When that system goes wrong, chronic inflammation can result.

Art for "Adaptations or Neutral Changes? Evolutionary Theory Seeks a Balance"

Theorists Debate How ‘Neutral’ Evolution Really Is

For 50 years, evolutionary theory has emphasized the importance of neutral mutations rather than adaptive ones at the level of DNA. Real genomic data challenges that assumption.

Art for "In the Nucleus, Genes’ Activity Might Depend on Their Position"
cell biology

In the Nucleus, Genes’ Activity Might Depend on Their Location

Using a new CRISPR-based technique, researchers are examining how the position of DNA within the nucleus affects gene expression and cell function.

Art for "Scientists Learn the Ropes on Tying Molecular Knots"

Scientists Learn the Ropes on Tying Molecular Knots

As chemists tie the most complicated molecular knot yet, biophysicists create a “periodic table” that describes what kinds of knots are possible.