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genome

520px illustration of genome packaging
genomics

How Cells Pack Tangled DNA Into Neat Chromosomes

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

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

Traveling person with a luggage filled with bacteria
Quantized Columns

What Bacteria Can Tell Us About Human Evolution

To discover our species’ deep history and to shape its future health, we should learn from the microbes that accompanied us on our evolutionary journey.

Illustration of a doctor trying to get to a patient
molecular biology

Bacteria Sacrifice DNA Repair for Better RNA

Preserving its DNA ought to be a cell’s top priority. But bacteria slow their DNA repair to a crawl in favor of proofreading gene transcripts.

Tiny parasitoid wasps
evolution

Moonlighting Genes Evolve for a Venomous Job

An unexpected mechanism allows wasps to rapidly co-opt genes for new toxic functions.

synthetic biology

In Newly Created Life-Form, a Major Mystery

Scientists have created a synthetic organism that possesses only the genes it needs to survive. But they have no idea what roughly a third of those genes do.

genetics

Machine Intelligence Cracks Genetic Controls

Scientists have begun to decipher the most difficult-to-read parts of the genome — the parts that don’t code for proteins. The new work reveals how errors in these genetic instructions can lead to disease.