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Evolving Bacteria Can Evade Barriers to ‘Peak’ Fitness
Paradoxically, natural selection can sometimes seem to block organisms from evolving useful adaptations. But a new study of “fitness landscapes” and antibiotic resistance in bacteria shows that life still finds a way.
In the Gut’s ‘Second Brain,’ Key Agents of Health Emerge
Sitting alongside the neurons in your enteric nervous system are underappreciated glial cells, which play key roles in digestion and disease that scientists are only just starting to understand.
During Pregnancy, a Fake ‘Infection’ Protects the Fetus
Cells in the placenta have an unusual trick for activating gentle immune defenses and keeping them turned on when no infection is present. It involves crafting and deploying a fake virus.
Why the Human Brain Perceives Small Numbers Better
The discovery that the brain has different systems for representing small and large numbers provokes new questions about memory, attention and mathematics.
Bats Use the Same Brain Cells to Map Physical and Social Worlds
New research in social bats raises the intriguing possibility that evolution can reprogram the brain’s “place cells,” which are typically associated with location, to encode all kinds of environmental information.
Fossilized Molecules Reveal a Lost World of Ancient Life
A new analysis of ancient sediments fills a gap in the fossil record — revealing a massive dynasty of ancient eukaryotes, which may have reigned for 800 million years and shaped the history of life of Earth.
These Cells Spark Electricity in the Brain. They’re Not Neurons.
For decades, researchers have debated whether brain cells called astrocytes can signal like neurons. Researchers recently published the best evidence yet that some astrocytes are part of the electrical conversation.
In Our Cellular Clocks, She’s Found a Lifetime of Discoveries
For decades, Carrie Partch has led pioneering structural research on the protein clockwork that keeps time for our circadian rhythm. Is time still on her side?