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genetics

Illustration: Viruses Find a New Way to Hijack Cells
viruses

Viruses Find a New Way to Hijack Cells

A virus that causes crippling birth defects has been shown to do something else: It changes thousands of messages coming from DNA that control normal cellular activities.

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.

A petri dish with an array of mutant yeast strains.
Abstractions blog

Why Some Genetic Miscues Are Helpful

A new look at the reasons why organisms missing pairs of genes sometimes do much better than normal.

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.

genomics

Giant Genetic Map Shows Life’s Hidden Links

In a monumental set of experiments, spread out over nearly two decades, biologists removed genes two at a time to uncover the secret workings of the cell.

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.

zoology

Biologists Search for New Model Organisms

The bulk of biological research is centered on a handful of species. Are we missing a huge chunk of interesting biology?

Abstractions blog

The Downside to Neanderthal DNA

How interbreeding among early hominins harmed humans but may have slowed the Neanderthals’ decline.

Native Tibetans make use of a gene derived from Denisovans to stay healthy at high altitudes.
evolution

How Neanderthal DNA Helps Humanity

Neanderthals and Denisovans may have endowed modern humans with genetic variants that helped them thrive in new environments.