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Life With Longer Genetic Codes Seems Possible — but Less Likely
Life could use a more expansive genetic code in theory, but new work shows that improving on three-letter codons would be a challenge.
Mitochondria Double as Tiny Lenses in the Eye
The optical properties of mitochondrial bundles in the retina may improve how efficiently the eye captures light.
Cells Blaze Their Own Trails to Navigate Through the Body
With self-generated gradients of chemicals and physical tension, cells in the body steer themselves to vital destinations.
Why Do We Die Without Sleep?
The reasons why sleep is so vital often hide in unexpected parts of the body, as host Steven Strogatz discovers in conversations with researchers Dragana Rogulja and Alex Keene.
Brain Chemical Helps Signal to Neurons When to Start a Movement
Dopamine, a neurochemical often associated with reward behavior, also seems to help organize precisely when the brain initiates movements. It’s the latest revelation about the power of neuromodulators.
Deep Curiosity Inspires The Joy of Why Podcast
The noted mathematician and author Steven Strogatz explains how the conversations with experts in his new Quanta Magazine podcast address his lifelong fascination with timeless mysteries.
This Animal’s Behavior Is Mechanically Programmed
Biomechanical interactions, rather than neurons, control the movements of one of the simplest animals. The discovery offers a glimpse into how animal behavior worked before neurons evolved.
Peptides on Stardust May Have Provided a Shortcut to Life
The discovery that short peptides can form spontaneously on cosmic dust hints at more of a role for them in the earliest stages of life’s origin, on Earth or elsewhere.
Scientists Watch a Memory Form in a Living Brain
While watching a fearful memory take shape in the brain of a living fish, neuroscientists see an unexpected level of rewiring occur in the synaptic connections.