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genomics

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.

In the ongoing controversy over whether and how to use a powerful new genome editing technology in the wild to achieve conservation and public health goals, two new papers urge caution.
Abstractions blog

New Model Warns About CRISPR Gene Drives in the Wild

Two new papers urge caution in using powerful genome-editing technology against invasive species: Models show that aggressive gene drives can’t be contained in the wild.

Elephant thumbnail
genomics

A Zombie Gene Protects Elephants From Cancer

Elephants did not evolve to become huge animals until after they turned a bit of genetic junk into a unique defense against inevitable tumors.

Modern humans (at left) and Neanderthals (right)
evolution

Genetics Spills Secrets From Neanderthals’ Lost History

How many Neanderthals were there? Archaeology and genetics have given very different answers. A new study reconciles them and reveals the lost history of these ancient people — including an early brush with extinction.

A boy and his dog and its viruses
evolution

Viruses Would Rather Jump to New Hosts Than Evolve With Them

The discovery that viruses move between species unexpectedly often is rewriting ideas about their evolutionary history — and may have troubling implications for the threat from emerging diseases.

Illustration of bats shedding their genome by Skip Sterling
molecular biology

Shrinking Bat DNA and Elastic Genomes

Species gain and shed startling amounts of DNA as they evolve, and even genomes that look stable churn furiously. What does it mean?

Q&A

A Map of Human History, Hidden in DNA

The computational biologist John Novembre uses our genetic code to rewrite the history of humanity.

Larger timescales give a clearer picture of evolution.
evolution

Evolution Runs Faster on Short Timescales

Examine evolution over the course of years or centuries, and you’ll find that it progresses much more quickly than it does over geologic time.

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.