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insects

Corina Tarnita deciphers bizarre patterns in the soil created by competing life-forms.
Q&A

A Mathematician Who Decodes the Patterns Stamped Out by Life

Corina Tarnita deciphers bizarre patterns in the soil created by competing life-forms.

Minor genetic changes can have big evolutionary consequences. When a gene duplication gave some water striders a novel leg part, it opened up a new world for them.
evolution

Insects Conquered a Watery Realm With Just Two New Genes

Minor genetic changes can have big evolutionary consequences. When a gene duplication gave some water striders a novel leg part, it opened up a new world for them.

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

Moonlighting Genes Evolve for a Venomous Job

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

A definitive explanation for why plants evolved spines remains elusive, and human biases compound the problem.
evolution

The Thorny Truth About Spine Evolution

A definitive explanation for why plants evolved spines remains elusive, and human biases compound the problem.

The biologist Joan Strassmann discusses cooperation in social insects, how amoebas can teach us about competition, and why the definition of “organism” needs an overhaul.
Life’s Big Leaps: Critical Moments in Evolution

The Woman Who Stared at Wasps

The biologist Joan Strassmann discusses cooperation in social insects, how amoebas can teach us about competition, and why the definition of “organism” needs an overhaul.

The biologist Nancy Moran has spent a career investigating the surprising nature of symbiosis, a phenomenon in which two species can appear to merge into one.
Q&A

An Explorer of Life’s Deepest Partnerships

The biologist Nancy Moran has spent a career investigating the surprising nature of symbiosis, a phenomenon in which two species can appear to merge into one.

By comparing the genomes of social and solitary bees, scientists hope to uncover the basis for communal behavior.
genetics

In Bees, a Hunt for Roots of Social Behavior

By comparing the genomes of social and solitary bees, scientists hope to uncover the basis for communal behavior.

Knowing the rules behind ant-made structures could help scientists understand how other complex systems emerge in nature.
Biology

The Remarkable Self-Organization of Ants

Knowing the rules behind ant-made structures could help scientists understand how other complex systems emerge in nature.