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Embryo Cells Set Patterns for Growth by Pushing and Pulling
Patterns that guide the development of feathers and other features can be set by mechanical forces in the embryo, not just by gradients of chemicals.
Simple Gene Circuits Hint at How Stem Cells Find New Identities
Synthetic biology experiments suggest a “MultiFate” model for how genetically identical cells become the many different types found in complex organisms like us.
Biologists Rethink the Logic Behind Cells’ Molecular Signals
The molecular signaling systems of complex cells are nothing like simple electronic circuits. The logic governing their operation is riotously complex — but it has advantages.
To Learn More Quickly, Brain Cells Break Their DNA
New work shows that neurons and other brain cells use DNA double-strand breaks, often associated with cancer, neurodegeneration and aging, to quickly express genes related to learning and memory.
DNA’s Histone Spools Hint at How Complex Cells Evolved
New work shows that histones, long treated as boring spools for DNA, sit at the center of the origin story of eukaryotes and continue to play important roles in evolution and disease.
DNA of Giant ‘Corpse Flower’ Parasite Surprises Biologists
The bizarre genome of the world’s most mysterious flowering plants shows how far parasites will go in stealing, deleting and duplicating DNA.
A Newfound Source of Cellular Order in the Chemistry of Life
Inside cells, droplets of biomolecules called condensates merge, divide and dissolve. Their dance may regulate vital processes.
Scientists Debate the Origin of Cell Types in the First Animals
Theories about how animals became multicellular are shifting as researchers find greater complexity in our single-celled ancestors.