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evolution

Q&A

A Conductor of Evolution’s Subtle Symphony

November 3, 2016

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

October 28, 2016

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

September 22, 2016

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

September 8, 2016

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

July 12, 2016

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

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universality

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

July 12, 2016

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

June 29, 2016

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

June 14, 2016

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

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evolution

How Neanderthal DNA Helps Humanity

May 26, 2016

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