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How 3D Changes in the Genome Turned Sharks Into Skates
Changes in the 3D structure of their genome gave skates and rays their distinctive winglike fins and pancake flatness.
Why the Brain’s Connections to the Body Are Crisscrossed
In all bilaterally symmetrical animals, from humans down to simple worms, nerves cross from one side of the body to the opposite side of the brain. Geometry may explain why.
She Tracks the DNA of Elusive Species That Hide in Harsh Places
On Mount Everest and in the Peruvian Andes, Tracie Seimon uses DNA to study how species and ecosystems respond to climate change, pathogens and other influences.
Simpler Math Predicts How Close Ecosystems Are to Collapse
By replacing thousands of equations with just one, ecology modelers can more accurately assess how close fragile environments are to a disastrous “tipping point.”
Gene Expression in Neurons Solves a Brain Evolution Puzzle
The neocortex of our brain is the seat of our intellect. New data suggests that mammals created it with new types of cells that they developed only after their evolutionary split from reptiles.
The Gut Microbiome Helps Social Skills Develop in the Brain
New research in fish suggests that gut microbes can have a crucial early influence on the brain’s social development.
How Supergenes Fuel Evolution Despite Harmful Mutations
Supergenes that lock inherited traits together are widespread in nature. Recent work shows that their blend of genetic benefits and risks for species can be complex.
How Genes Can Leap From Snakes to Frogs in Madagascar
The discovery of a hot spot for horizontal gene transfer draws attention to the possible roles of parasites and ecology in such changes.
Record-Breaking Robot Highlights How Animals Excel at Jumping
Robots can surpass the limitations on how high and far animals can jump, but their success only underscores nature’s ingenuity in making the most of what’s available.