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biology

Life’s Big Leaps: Critical Moments in Evolution

Mongrel Microbe Tests Story of Complex Life

A newly discovered class of microbe could help to resolve one of the biggest and most controversial mysteries in evolution — how simple microbes transformed into the complex cells that produced animals, plants and fungi.

Biology

Networks Untangle Malaria’s Deadly Shuffle

By examining regions shared between some of nature’s most variable genes, malaria researchers are piecing together an understanding of a deadly parasite.

ecology

A Twisted Path to Equation-Free Prediction

Complex natural systems defy analysis using a standard mathematical toolkit, so one ecologist is throwing out the equations.

Biology

The Mutant Genes Behind the Black Death

Only a few genetic changes were enough to change an ordinary stomach bug into the bacteria responsible for the plague.

Q&A

An Explorer of Life’s Deepest Partnerships

The biologist Nancy Moran has spent a career investigating the surprising nature of symbiosis, a phenomenon in which two species can appear to merge into one.

Biology

How the Body’s Trillions of Clocks Keep Time

Cellular clocks are almost everywhere. Clues to how they work are coming from the places they’re not.

Biology

How Mutant Viral Swarms Spread Disease

A new understanding of viral swarms is helping researchers predict how viruses will evolve and where disease is likely to spread.

Biology

A Surprise Source of Life’s Code

Emerging data suggests the seemingly impossible — that mysterious new genes arise from “junk” DNA.

Biology

At Tiny Scales, a Giant Burst on Tree of Life

A new technique for finding and characterizing microbes has boosted the number of known bacteria by almost 50 percent, revealing a hidden world all around us.