What's up in

biology

Stimulating part of the cortex as needed during learning tasks improves later recall. The finding reveals more about the brain’s memory network and points toward possible therapies.
Abstractions blog

With Strategic Zaps to the Brain, Scientists Boost Memory

Stimulating part of the cortex as needed during learning tasks improves later recall. The finding reveals more about the brain’s memory network and points toward possible therapies.

Simple math shows how widespread vaccination can disrupt the exponential spread of disease and prevent epidemics.
Quantized Academy

How Math (and Vaccines) Keep You Safe From the Flu

Simple math shows how widespread vaccination can disrupt the exponential spread of disease and prevent epidemics.

The neuroscientist Erich Jarvis found that songbirds’ vocal skills and humans’ spoken language are both rooted in neural pathways for controlling learned movements.
Q&A

In Birds’ Songs, Brains and Genes, He Finds Clues to Speech

The neuroscientist Erich Jarvis found that songbirds’ vocal skills and humans’ spoken language are both rooted in neural pathways for controlling learned movements.

Mechanical tension between tethered cells cues developing tissues to fold. Researchers can now program synthetic tissue to make coils, cubes and rippling plates.
Abstractions blog

Tissue Engineers Hack Life’s Code for 3-D Folded Shapes

Mechanical tension between tethered cells cues developing tissues to fold. Researchers can now program synthetic tissue to make coils, cubes and rippling plates.

Near an Australian desert mining camp, wild dingoes are losing their fear of humans. Their genetic and behavioral changes may echo those from the domestication of dogs.
evolution

A Domesticated Dingo? No, but Some Are Getting Less Wild

Near an Australian desert mining camp, wild dingoes are losing their fear of humans. Their genetic and behavioral changes may echo those from the domestication of dogs.

The dizzying network of interactions within microbe communities can defy analysis. But a new approach simplifies the math and makes progress possible.
microbiology

Simpler Math Tames the Complexity of Microbe Networks

The dizzying network of interactions within microbe communities can defy analysis. But a new approach simplifies the math and makes progress possible.

By developing new tools for visualizing subcellular structure and activity in molecular detail, Ed Boyden advances on his goal of understanding how the brain works.
Q&A

A Neurobiologist Thinks Big — and Small

By developing new tools for visualizing subcellular structure and activity in molecular detail, Ed Boyden advances on his goal of understanding how the brain works.

Compact genomes and tiny cells gave flowering plants an edge over competing flora. This discovery hints at a broader evolutionary principle.
Abstractions blog

With ‘Downsized’ DNA, Flowering Plants Took Over the World

Compact genomes and tiny cells gave flowering plants an edge over competing flora. This discovery hints at a broader evolutionary principle.

Evolution settled on a genetic code that uses four letters to name 20 amino acids. Synthetic biologists adding new bases to DNA will be free to improve on nature — if they can.
synthetic biology

Is a Bigger Genetic Code Better? Get Ready to Find Out

Evolution settled on a genetic code that uses four letters to name 20 amino acids. Synthetic biologists adding new bases to DNA will be free to improve on nature — if they can.