What's up in

biology

Art for "Evolutionary Math and Just-So Stories"
insights puzzle

Solution: ‘Evolutionary Math and Just-So Stories’

How much stock should we put in mathematical models of evolution that have not been validated by rigorous empirical data?

Thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum leaf
botany

DNA Analysis Reveals a Genus of Plants Hiding in Plain Sight

Gene-sequence data is changing the way that botanists think about their classification schemes. A recent name-change for a common houseplant resulted from the discovery that it belonged in an overlooked genus.

Art for "To Heal Some Wounds, Adult Cells Turn More Fetal"
developmental biology

To Heal Some Wounds, Adult Cells Turn More Fetal

Once again, body cells reveal unexpected plasticity: In a newly discovered type of wound healing, which some researchers call “paligenosis,” adult cells revert to a more fetal state.

Art for "The Universal Pattern Popping Up in Math, Physics and Biology"
Multimedia

The Universal Pattern Popping Up in Math, Physics and Biology

Quanta’s In Theory video series returns with an exploration of a mysterious mathematical pattern found throughout nature.

Art for "You Are Getting Sleepy — Tagged Proteins May Point to Why"
neuroscience

You Are Getting Sleepy — Tagged Proteins May Point to Why

The identification of SNIPPs, a set of proteins found primarily at the brain’s synapses, brings science closer to understanding why we need to sleep.

Art for "‘Functional Fingerprint’ May Identify Brains Over a Lifetime"
neuroscience

‘Functional Fingerprint’ May Identify Brains Over a Lifetime

A unique neurological “functional fingerprint” allows scientists to explore the influence of genetics, environment and aging on brain connectivity.

Art for "Evolutionary Math and Just-So Stories"
insights puzzle

Evolutionary Math and Just-So Stories

Evolutionary stories like the grandmother hypothesis are easy to construct from mathematical models, but how well do they reflect reality?

Abstractions blog

How Insulin Helped Create Ant Societies

Evolution may have coopted an ancient metabolic mechanism to set social insects on the path toward one of the most puzzling behaviors found in nature.

Photo of Escherichia coli under a microscope
Abstractions blog

Swarming Bacteria Create an ‘Impossible’ Superfluid

Researchers explore a loophole that extracts useful energy from a fluid’s seemingly random motion. The secret? Sugar and asymmetry.