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biology

Photo of Physarum Polycephalum
cognitive science

Slime Molds Remember — but Do They Learn?

Evidence mounts that organisms without nervous systems can in some sense learn and solve problems, but researchers disagree about whether this is “primitive cognition.”

Photo of an axolotl
developmental biology

Salamander’s Genome Guards Secrets of Limb Regrowth

With a fully sequenced genome in hand, scientists hope they are finally poised to learn how axolotls regenerate lost body parts.

Illustation for "The Slippery Math of Causation"
insights puzzle

Solution: ‘The Slippery Math of Causation’

The all-too-intuitive picture of a straight arrow going from cause to effect is far too simplistic to describe the real world.

Illustration for "Mathematics Shows How to Ensure Evolution"
mathematical biology

Mathematics Shows How to Ensure Evolution

New results emerging from graph theory prove that the way a population is organized can guarantee the eventual triumph of natural selection — or permanently thwart it.

Illustration for "Theory Suggests That All Genes Affect Every Complex Trait"
genomics

Theory Suggests That All Genes Affect Every Complex Trait

The more closely geneticists look at complex traits and diseases, the harder it gets to find active genes that don’t play some part in them.

Photo of Carina Curto
Q&A

Her Key to Modeling Brains: Ignore the Right Details

Being able to think like a physicist helps Carina Curto, a mathematician-turned-neuroscientist, pull insights about the human brain out of theoretical models.

Photo of a grasshopper poised to jump.
biophysics

Too Small for Big Muscles, Tiny Animals Use Springs

Elastic springs help tiny animals stay fast and strong. New work is finding what size critters must be to benefit from the springs.

Photo of Lisa Manning
Q&A

The Physics of Glass Opens a Window Into Biology

The physicist Lisa Manning studies the dynamics of glassy materials to understand embryonic development and disease.

Illustration for "Overtaxed Working Memory Knocks the Brain out of Sync"
neuroscience

Overtaxed Working Memory Knocks the Brain Out of Sync

Researchers find that when working memory gets overburdened, dialogue between three brain regions breaks down. The discovery provides new support for a larger concept about how the brain works.