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Abstractions blog

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

January 23, 2019

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

January 8, 2019

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

November 29, 2018

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

November 21, 2018

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.


Should Evolution Treat Our Microbes as Part of Us?

November 20, 2018

How does evolution select the fittest “individuals” when they are ecosystems made up of hosts and their microbiomes? Biologist debate the need to revise theories.

Art for "How Equality and Inequality Shape the Birds and the Bees"
insights puzzle

Solution: ‘How Equality and Inequality Shape Birds and Bees’

November 9, 2018

Puzzle solvers explored how evolution may have used negative and positive control mechanisms to shape the conflicting parental functions of reproduction and child rearing.

Art for "Adaptations or Neutral Changes? Evolutionary Theory Seeks a Balance"

Theorists Debate How ‘Neutral’ Evolution Really Is

November 8, 2018

For 50 years, evolutionary theory has emphasized the importance of neutral mutations rather than adaptive ones at the level of DNA. Real genomic data challenges that assumption.

Art for "How Equality and Inequality Shape the Birds and the Bees"
insights puzzle

How Equality and Inequality Shape the Birds and the Bees

October 17, 2018

Two dynamic, seemingly opposing forces likely played an important role in the evolution of reproduction and child rearing in social animals like bees and humans.

Art for "‘Broadband’ Networks of Viruses May Help Bacteria Evolve Faster"

‘Broadband’ Networks of Viruses May Help Bacteria Evolve Faster

October 16, 2018

A newly discovered mechanism may enable viruses to shuttle genes between bacteria 1,000 times as often as was thought — making them a major force in those cells’ evolution.