What's up in
The Cause of Depression Is Probably Not What You Think
Depression has often been blamed on low levels of serotonin in the brain. That answer is insufficient, but alternatives are coming into view and changing our understanding of the disease.
How the ‘Diamond of the Plant World’ Helped Land Plants Evolve
Structural studies of the robust material called sporopollenin reveal how it made plants hardy enough to reproduce on dry land.
Chemistry Nobel Prize Honors Technique for Building Molecules
Benjamin List and David MacMillan received the 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their development of asymmetrical organocatalysis.
DNA Has Four Bases. Some Viruses Swap in a Fifth.
The DNA of some viruses doesn’t use the same four nucleotide bases found in all other life. New work shows how this exception is possible and hints that it could be more common than we think.
The Epigenetic Secrets Behind Dopamine, Drug Addiction and Depression
New research links serotonin and dopamine not just to addiction and depression, but to the ability to control genes.
New Clues to Chemical Origins of Metabolism at Dawn of Life
The ingredients for reactions ancestral to metabolism could have formed very easily in the primordial soup, new work suggests.
Cosmic Rays May Explain Life’s Bias for Right-Handed DNA
Cosmic rays may have given right-handed genetic helixes an evolutionary edge at the beginning of life’s history.
Biologists Discover Unknown Powers in Mighty Mitochondria
Mitochondria are most famous as sources of metabolic energy. But by splitting and combining, they can also release chemical signals to regulate cell activities, including the generation of neurons.
Viruses Find a New Way to Hijack Cells
A virus that causes crippling birth defects has been shown to do something else: It changes thousands of messages coming from DNA that control normal cellular activities.