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Selfish DNA
insights puzzle

Solution: ‘Are Genes Selfish or Cooperative?’

Puzzle solvers rediscovered a simple mathematical result of Mendelian genetics and weighed in on a Richard Dawkins metaphor.

Birds and mitonuclear conflict

Genetic Struggles Within Cells May Create New Species

Mitonuclear conflict — a struggle between the genes in a cell’s nucleus and its mitochondria — might sometimes split species in two.

Modern humans (at left) and Neanderthals (right)

Genetics Spills Secrets From Neanderthals’ Lost History

How many Neanderthals were there? Archaeology and genetics have given very different answers. A new study reconciles them and reveals the lost history of these ancient people — including an early brush with extinction.

Selfish Genes
insights puzzle

Are Genes Selfish or Cooperative?

Can you discover a simple mathematical result of Mendelian genetics that describes how genes interact with each other?

A boy and his dog and its viruses

Viruses Would Rather Jump to New Hosts Than Evolve With Them

The discovery that viruses move between species unexpectedly often is rewriting ideas about their evolutionary history — and may have troubling implications for the threat from emerging diseases.

Nigel Goldenfeld

Seeing Emergent Physics Behind Evolution

Nigel Goldenfeld applies the physics of condensed matter to understand how evolution sprinted for the earliest life — and then slowed down.

Lion, leopard, tiger

Interspecies Hybrids Play a Vital Role in Evolution

Hybrids, once treated as biological misfits, play a vital role in the evolution of many animal species. Now conservationists are trying to reconcile that truth with policies.

Evolving bird

Beating the Odds for Lucky Mutations

If DNA repair makes useful mutations more likely, it could accelerate cells’ adaptations to harsh environments.

Illustration of bats shedding their genome by Skip Sterling
molecular biology

Shrinking Bat DNA and Elastic Genomes

Species gain and shed startling amounts of DNA as they evolve, and even genomes that look stable churn furiously. What does it mean?