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Biology

Lion, leopard, tiger
evolution

Interspecies Hybrids Play a Vital Role in Evolution

Hybrids, once treated as biological misfits, play a vital role in the evolution of many animal species. Now conservationists are trying to reconcile that truth with policies.

Evolving bird
genetics

Beating the Odds for Lucky Mutations

If DNA repair makes useful mutations more likely, it could accelerate cells’ adaptations to harsh environments.

cerebral organoid, or mini-brain
Abstractions blog

Mini-Brains Go Modular

To create a good living replica of the human brain, your best hope may be to let “organoid” components assemble it for you.

Illustration of bats shedding their genome by Skip Sterling
molecular biology

Shrinking Bat DNA and Elastic Genomes

Species gain and shed startling amounts of DNA as they evolve, and even genomes that look stable churn furiously. What does it mean?

origins of life

First Support for a Physics Theory of Life

Take chemistry, add energy, get life. The first tests of Jeremy England’s provocative origin-of-life hypothesis are in, and they appear to show how order can arise from nothing.

microbiology

Building Codes for Bacterial Cities

Hydrodynamics and competition guide the architectural design of biofilm fortresses.

Virus Hamiltonian Path
molecular biology

The Illuminating Geometry of Viruses

Mathematical insights into how RNA helps viruses pull together their protein shells could guide future studies of viral behavior and function.

Missing Mutations Suggest a Reason for Sex
molecular biology

Missing Mutations Suggest a Reason for Sex

Sex might help natural selection purge excessive mistakes from our genes.

GFAP staining in glial cells, neurofilament protein in axons and DNA in cell nuclei
Abstractions blog

Cell Atlases Reveal Biology’s Frontiers

New techniques expose unexpected diversity within seemingly uniform tissues.