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biology

Traveling person with a luggage filled with bacteria
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What Bacteria Can Tell Us About Human Evolution

To discover our species’ deep history and to shape its future health, we should learn from the microbes that accompanied us on our evolutionary journey.

Illustration of gut sending signals to kidneys.
physiology

How Bacteria Help Regulate Blood Pressure

Kidneys sniff out signals from gut bacteria for cues to lower blood pressure after meals. Our understanding of how the symbiotic microbes affect health is becoming much more molecular.

Frozen clock photo
Abstractions blog

The Overlooked Link Between Two of This Year’s Nobel Prizes

To better understand the molecules described by the latest prize in medicine, we will need the technique recognized by the latest prize in chemistry.

Illustration of a doctor trying to get to a patient
molecular biology

Bacteria Sacrifice DNA Repair for Better RNA

Preserving its DNA ought to be a cell’s top priority. But bacteria slow their DNA repair to a crawl in favor of proofreading gene transcripts.

In the ongoing controversy over whether and how to use a powerful new genome editing technology in the wild to achieve conservation and public health goals, two new papers urge caution.
Abstractions blog

New Model Warns About CRISPR Gene Drives in the Wild

Two new papers urge caution in using powerful genome-editing technology against invasive species: Models show that aggressive gene drives can’t be contained in the wild.

During fertilization, eggs may play an unexpected role in choosing which sperm offer the best genetic match.
genetics

Choosy Eggs May Pick Sperm for Their Genes, Defying Mendel’s Law

The oldest law of genetics says that gametes combine randomly, but experiments hint that sometimes eggs select sperm actively for their genetic assets.

Red slime mold
Multimedia

Seeing the Beautiful Intelligence of Microbes

Bacterial biofilms and slime molds are more than crude patches of goo. Detailed time-lapse microscopy reveals how they sense and explore their surroundings, communicate with their neighbors and adaptively reshape themselves.

Game Theory cake puzzle
insights puzzle

How to Triumph and Cooperate in Game Theory and Evolution

In applying game theory to biology and human behavior, have scientists focused too much on competition over cooperation?

Elephant thumbnail
genomics

A Zombie Gene Protects Elephants From Cancer

Elephants did not evolve to become huge animals until after they turned a bit of genetic junk into a unique defense against inevitable tumors.