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genes

Illustration of an RNA sequence, with an arrow pointing from one end to the other, and a sequence of complementary nucleotides, with an arrow pointing the other way.
Abstractions blog

New Clues About ‘Ambigram’ Viruses With Strange Reversible Genes

February 12, 2020

For decades, scientists have been intrigued by tiny viruses whose genetic material can be read both forward and backward. New research begins to explain this puzzling property.

Illustration of DNA that combines elements of mealybug and bacterial imagery.
evolution

Cell-Bacteria Mergers Offer Clues to How Organelles Evolved

October 3, 2019

Cells in symbiotic partnership, sometimes nested one within the other and functioning like organelles, can borrow from their host’s genes to complete their own metabolic pathways.

An illustration that shows a fanciful view of cells in terms of electrical circuitry.
synthetic biology

Math Reveals the Secrets of Cells’ Feedback Circuitry

September 18, 2019

Maintaining perfect stability through negative feedback is a basic element of electrical circuitry, but it’s been a mystery how cells could do it — until now.

cell biology

Bacterial Clones Show Surprising Individuality

September 4, 2019

Genetically identical bacteria should all be the same, but in fact, the cells are stubbornly varied individuals.

cell biology

Cellular Life, Death and Everything in Between

July 8, 2019

The discovery that apparently dead cells can sometimes resurrect themselves has researchers exploring how far they can push the point of no return.

Art for "The Body’s Clock Offers a Rhythmic Target to Viruses"
chronobiology

The Body’s Clock Offers a Rhythmic Target to Viruses

May 30, 2019

Viruses and other parasites may sync with their host’s biological clock — or reset it — to gain an advantage.

Art for "Stem Cells Remember Tissues’ Past Injuries"
developmental biology

Stem Cells Remember Tissues’ Past Injuries

November 12, 2018

Stem cells seem to retain memories of old injuries to improve future healing. When that system goes wrong, chronic inflammation can result.

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

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 "In the Nucleus, Genes’ Activity Might Depend on Their Position"
cell biology

In the Nucleus, Genes’ Activity Might Depend on Their Location

November 6, 2018

Using a new CRISPR-based technique, researchers are examining how the position of DNA within the nucleus affects gene expression and cell function.