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Nigel Goldenfeld

Seeing Emergent Physics Behind Evolution

August 31, 2017

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

August 24, 2017

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

August 16, 2017

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

August 1, 2017

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

insights puzzle

Solution: ‘Why Are There Two Sexes?’

July 28, 2017

The mathematical concept of parity and the fatal flaw of serial multiplication can help explain why having two sexes usually works better than having one or three.

Missing Mutations Suggest a Reason for Sex
molecular biology

Missing Mutations Suggest a Reason for Sex

July 13, 2017

Sex might help natural selection purge excessive mistakes from our genes.

insights puzzle

Why Are There Two Sexes?

July 7, 2017

Asexual reproduction can produce twice as many offspring as sexual reproduction without the hassle of finding and courting a mate. So why do most complex animals have two sexes? Why not three?

Jessica Flack

How Nature Solves Problems Through Computation

July 6, 2017

The evolutionary biologist Jessica Flack seeks the computational rules that groups of organisms use to solve problems.


Can Microbes Encourage Altruism?

June 29, 2017

If gut bacteria can sway their hosts to be selfless, it could answer a riddle that goes back to Darwin.