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Andreas Wagner Pursues the Secrets to Evolutionary Success
Why did mammals, grasses and some other groups of organisms explode in diversity only after millions of years? The evolutionary biologist Andreas Wagner plumbs the secrets of those “sleeping beauties.”
Even Synthetic Life Forms With a Tiny Genome Can Evolve
By watching “minimal” cells regain the fitness they lost, researchers are testing whether a genome can be too simple to evolve.
Underground Cells Make ‘Dark Oxygen’ Without Light
In some deep subterranean aquifers, cells have a chemical trick for making oxygen that could sustain whole underground ecosystems.
How 3D Changes in the Genome Turned Sharks Into Skates
Changes in the 3D structure of their genome gave skates and rays their distinctive winglike fins and pancake flatness.
A Mutation Turned Ants Into Parasites in One Generation
A new genetics study of ant “social parasites” shows how complex sets of features can emerge rapidly and potentially split species.
How Pools of Genetic Diversity Affect a Species’ Fate
A new, deeper understanding of how the breeding structure of species affects their genetic diversity is giving conservationists better tools for saving animals.
Primitive Asgard Cells Show Life on the Brink of Complexity
As researchers race to cultivate more of the intriguing cells from the deep seafloor, the few cells now growing in labs are giving us our best glimpses of the forerunners of all complex life.
Animal Mutation Rates Reveal Traits That Speed Evolution
The first large-scale comparison of mutation rates gives insights into how quickly species can evolve.