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Abstractions blog

Viruses Have a Secret, Altruistic Social Life

Researchers are beginning to understand the ways in which viruses strategically manipulate and cooperate with one another.

Art for "Researchers Rethink Ancestry of Complex Cells"

Researchers Rethink the Ancestry of Complex Cells

New studies revise ideas about the symbiosis that gave mitochondria to cells and about whether the last common ancestor of all eukaryotes was one cell or many.

Art for "New Squid Genome Shines Light on Symbiotic Evolution"

New Squid Genome Shines Light on Symbiotic Evolution

Researchers hope that the genes of a glowing squid can illuminate how animals evolved organs for beneficial bacteria.

A row of skulls ending with homo sapiens, foreground, found at The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History’s Hall of Human Origins.
Abstractions blog

Artificial Intelligence Finds Ancient ‘Ghosts’ in Modern DNA

With the help of deep learning techniques, paleoanthropologists find evidence of long-lost branches on the human family tree.

Art for "Fragile DNA Enables New Adaptations to Evolve Quickly"

Fragile DNA Enables New Adaptations to Evolve Quickly

If highly repetitive gene-regulating sequences in DNA are easily lost, that may explain why some adaptations evolve quickly and repeatedly.

Abstractions blog

Gene Drives Work in Mice (if They’re Female)

Biologists have demonstrated for the first time that a controversial genetic engineering technology works, with caveats, in mammals.

Abstractions blog

Jellyfish Genome Hints That Complexity Isn’t Genetically Complex

Jellyfish didn’t need novel genes to take an evolutionary leap in complexity.

Art for "Biology and Computer Science Explore Algorithmic Evolution"
mathematical biology

Mathematical Simplicity May Drive Evolution’s Speed

Some researchers are using a complexity framework thought to be purely theoretical to understand evolutionary dynamics in biological and computational systems.


Quanta Writers and Editors Discuss Trends in Science and Math

On November 16, 2018, more than 200 readers joined writers and editors from Quanta Magazine for a wide-ranging panel discussion that examined the newest ideas in fundamental physics, biology and mathematics research.