What's up in

biology

Chili peppers.
Biology

Scientists Reveal Structure of Pain Sensor

Scientists have finally resolved the structure of the molecule that responds to chili peppers, high temperatures and spider toxins.

origins of life

Chemists Seek Possible Precursor to RNA

Scientists have discovered building blocks similar to those in modern RNA that can effortlessly assemble when mixed in water and heated.

Jeremy England
Physics

A New Physics Theory of Life

An MIT physicist has proposed the provocative idea that life exists because the law of increasing entropy drives matter to acquire lifelike physical properties.

evolution

Under Pressure, Does Evolution Evolve?

Some organisms respond to stress by driving up their mutation rate. Are they evolving specific mechanisms to enhance evolution in times of crisis?

genetics

A Missing Genetic Link in Human Evolution

Mysterious episodes of genetic duplication in our great ape ancestors may have paved the way for human evolution.

Maple leaves.
botany

The Secret Language of Plants

Striking evidence that plants warn each other of environmental dangers is reviving a once ridiculed field.

neuroscience

Inside a Brain Circuit, the Will to Press On

A rare brain stimulation study suggests that a brain circuit known as the “salience network” contributes to differences in our ability to overcome challenges and cope with stress.

genetics

Tracking the Evolution of Cancer, Cell by Cell

Analyzing individual cancer cells could reveal the answer to some of the disease’s most enduring mysteries.

An image of dendritic cells.
Biology

RNA’s Secret Life Outside the Cell

Circulating RNAs carry messages for plants and invertebrates. Do they do the same for us?