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metabolism

Illustration that depicts two types of simple molecules reacting in water on the early Earth.
origins of life

New Clues to Chemical Origins of Metabolism at Dawn of Life

October 12, 2020

The ingredients for reactions ancestral to metabolism could have formed very easily in the primordial soup, new work suggests.

Illustration of anxious woman surrounded by mitochondria.
physiology

Mitochondria May Hold Keys to Anxiety and Mental Health

August 10, 2020

Research hints that the energy-generating organelles of cells may play a surprisingly pivotal role in mediating anxiety and depression.

Photo of green leafy plants in close-up.
Abstractions blog

Why Are Plants Green? To Reduce the Noise in Photosynthesis.

July 30, 2020

Plants ignore the most energy-rich part of sunlight because stability matters more than efficiency, according to a new model of photosynthesis.

Illustration of an extremely tired person, surrounded by empty coffee cups.
sleep

Why Sleep Deprivation Kills

June 4, 2020

Going without sleep for too long kills animals but scientists haven’t known why. Newly published work suggests that the answer lies in an unexpected part of the body.

A brain full of “explosive” activity may lead to an earlier death than one with steadier “candles” of activity.
aging

Longevity Linked to Proteins That Calm Overexcited Neurons

November 26, 2019

New research makes a molecular connection between the brain and aging — and shows that overactive neurons can shorten life span.

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.

Art for "Mitochondria Direct the Fate of Stem Cells by Shape-Shifting"
developmental biology

Biologists Discover Unknown Powers in Mighty Mitochondria

March 18, 2019

Mitochondria are most famous as sources of metabolic energy. But by splitting and combining, they can also release chemical signals to regulate cell activities, including the generation of neurons.

Biology

Evolution as Opportunist

September 4, 2013

A computational study reveals surprising flexibility hidden within metabolic networks, providing new evidence for an evolutionary concept called exaptation.