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Biology

Thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum leaf
botany

DNA Analysis Reveals a Genus of Plants Hiding in Plain Sight

September 4, 2018

Gene-sequence data is changing the way that botanists think about their classification schemes. A recent name-change for a common houseplant resulted from the discovery that it belonged in an overlooked genus.

Art for "To Heal Some Wounds, Adult Cells Turn More Fetal"
developmental biology

To Heal Some Wounds, Adult Cells Turn More Fetal

August 29, 2018

Once again, body cells reveal unexpected plasticity: In a newly discovered type of wound healing, which some researchers call “paligenosis,” adult cells revert to a more fetal state.

Art for "You Are Getting Sleepy — Tagged Proteins May Point to Why"
neuroscience

You Are Getting Sleepy — Tagged Proteins May Point to Why

August 21, 2018

The identification of SNIPPs, a set of proteins found primarily at the brain’s synapses, brings science closer to understanding why we need to sleep.

Art for "‘Functional Fingerprint’ May Identify Brains Over a Lifetime"
neuroscience

‘Functional Fingerprint’ May Identify Brains Over a Lifetime

August 16, 2018

A unique neurological “functional fingerprint” allows scientists to explore the influence of genetics, environment and aging on brain connectivity.

Abstractions blog

How Insulin Helped Create Ant Societies

August 14, 2018

Evolution may have coopted an ancient metabolic mechanism to set social insects on the path toward one of the most puzzling behaviors found in nature.

Art for "A Math Theory for Why People Hallucinate"
neuroscience

A Math Theory for Why People Hallucinate

July 30, 2018

Psychedelic drugs can trigger characteristic hallucinations, which have long been thought to hold clues about the brain’s circuitry. After nearly a century of study, a possible explanation is crystallizing.

Photo of Escherichia coli under a microscope
Abstractions blog

Swarming Bacteria Create an ‘Impossible’ Superfluid

July 26, 2018

Researchers explore a loophole that extracts useful energy from a fluid’s seemingly random motion. The secret? Sugar and asymmetry.

Illustration for "To Remember, the Brain Must Actively Forget"
neuroscience

To Remember, the Brain Must Actively Forget

July 24, 2018

Researchers find evidence that neural systems actively remove memories, suggesting that forgetting may be the default mode of the brain.

Abstractions blog

Why Nature Prefers Couples, Even for Yeast

July 17, 2018

Some species have the equivalent of many more than two sexes, but most do not. A new model suggests the reason depends on how often they mate.