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evolution

The helmet jellyfish (Periphylla periphylla) uses bioluminescence for defense.
bioluminescence

In the Deep, Clues to How Life Makes Light

Bioluminescent organisms have evolved dozens of times over the course of life’s history. Recent studies are narrowing in on the complicated biochemistry needed to illuminate the dark.

evolution

Scientists Seek to Update Evolution

Recent discoveries have led some researchers to argue that the modern evolutionary synthesis needs to be amended.

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.