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evolution

Q&A

A Conductor of Evolution’s Subtle Symphony

At first, the biologist Richard Lenski thought his long-term experiment on evolution might last for 2,000 generations. Nearly three decades and over 65,000 generations later, he’s still amazed by evolution’s “awesome inventiveness.”

Abstractions blog

The Cell’s Backup Genetic Instructions

The cell is equipped with multiple redundancies in case something goes wrong. Researchers have begun to map these systems.

Q&A

Watching Evolution Happen in Two Lifetimes

The biologists Rosemary and Peter Grant have spent four decades on a tiny island in the Galápagos. Their discoveries reveal how new animal species can emerge in just a few generations.

evolution

Genetic Engineering to Clash With Evolution

Gene drives promise to spread a trait across an entire population. But evolutionary forces are going to alter even the best-engineered plans.

Abstractions blog

Faster Evolution on a Warmer Earth

When life first emerged roughly 4 billion years ago, DNA may have been a much more malleable molecule.

universality

A Bird’s-Eye View of Nature’s Hidden Order

Scientists are exploring a mysterious pattern, found in birds’ eyes, boxes of marbles and other surprising places, that is neither regular nor random.

Abstractions blog

New Lizard Shows Evolution’s Predictability

A newly discovered anole on the island of Hispaniola confirms that the buildup of ecological communities can follow predictable patterns.

Abstractions blog

The Downside to Neanderthal DNA

How interbreeding among early hominins harmed humans but may have slowed the Neanderthals’ decline.

Native Tibetans make use of a gene derived from Denisovans to stay healthy at high altitudes.
evolution

How Neanderthal DNA Helps Humanity

Neanderthals and Denisovans may have endowed modern humans with genetic variants that helped them thrive in new environments.