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Biology

microbes

Below Our Feet, a World of Hidden Life

June 16, 2015

The soil teems with billions of hidden microbes. Researchers have begun to catalog how these organisms are changing the world.

evolution

How Dinosaurs Shrank and Became Birds

June 2, 2015

Modern birds emerged in a snap of evolutionary time through a series of simple genetic changes.

Biology

Scientists Map 5,000 New Ocean Viruses

May 21, 2015

In the few decades since viruses were first found in the oceans, scientists have only been able to identify a handful of species. A new survey has uncovered nearly all the rest.

Biology

Animal Copies Reveal Roots of Individuality

May 12, 2015

Genetically identical animals raised under similar conditions can make very different choices. These distinctions are helping researchers map the biological basis of individuality.

evolution

A Surprise for Evolution in Giant Tree of Life

May 5, 2015

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

April 16, 2015

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?

March 25, 2015

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

Biology

Killer Virus Is Invading Koala DNA

March 4, 2015

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

February 25, 2015

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.