What's up in

genome

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.

VIDEO OPENER: TIME-LAPSE OF FLOWER OPENING.
botany

Unexpected ‘Germline’ Plant Cells May Shield New Generations

August 5, 2019

To avoid passing on new mutations to offspring, plants may minimize the number of divisions by the stem cells that make flowers and seeds.

Illustration: a virus broken up into parts over several cells
viruses

Viruses Can Scatter Their Genes Among Cells and Reassemble

May 21, 2019

Some viruses can replicate without infecting any one cell with all their genes.

Q&A

Doudna’s Confidence in CRISPR’s Research Potential Burns Bright

February 27, 2019

Jennifer Doudna, one of CRISPR’s primary innovators, stays optimistic about how the gene-editing tool will continue to empower basic biological understanding.

Art for "Fragile DNA Enables New Adaptations to Evolve Quickly"
evolution

Fragile DNA Enables New Adaptations to Evolve Quickly

February 5, 2019

If highly repetitive gene-regulating sequences in DNA are easily lost, that may explain why some adaptations evolve quickly and repeatedly.

evolution

Should Evolution Treat Our Microbes as Part of Us?

November 20, 2018

How does evolution select the fittest “individuals” when they are ecosystems made up of hosts and their microbiomes? Biologist debate the need to revise theories.

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.

520px illustration of genome packaging
genomics

How Cells Pack Tangled DNA Into Neat Chromosomes

February 22, 2018

For the first time, researchers see how proteins grab loops of DNA and bundle them for cell division. The discovery also hints at how the genome folds to regulate gene expression.

Aribidopsis thaliana inflorescence
Abstractions blog

With ‘Downsized’ DNA, Flowering Plants Took Over the World

January 11, 2018

Compact genomes and tiny cells gave flowering plants an edge over competing flora. This discovery hints at a broader evolutionary principle.