What's up in

microbes

Life’s Big Leaps: Critical Moments in Evolution

Mongrel Microbe Tests Story of Complex Life

A newly discovered class of microbe could help to resolve one of the biggest and most controversial mysteries in evolution — how simple microbes transformed into the complex cells that produced animals, plants and fungi.

Biology

The Mutant Genes Behind the Black Death

Only a few genetic changes were enough to change an ordinary stomach bug into the bacteria responsible for the plague.

microbes

Below Our Feet, a World of Hidden Life

The soil teems with billions of hidden microbes. Researchers have begun to catalog how these organisms are changing the world.

Biology

Scientists Map 5,000 New Ocean Viruses

In the few decades since viruses were first found in the oceans, scientists have only been able to identify a handful of species. A new survey has uncovered nearly all the rest.

Biology

Breakthrough DNA Editor Born of Bacteria

Interest in a powerful DNA editing tool called CRISPR has revealed that bacteria are far more sophisticated than anyone imagined.

Yeast
evolution

Evolution’s Random Paths Lead to One Place

A massive statistical study suggests that even though genetic changes happen at random, the final evolutionary outcome — fitness — is predictable.

Multicellularity
evolution

Where Animals Come From

Bacteria may have helped single-celled organisms make the leap to multicellular animals.

Biology

The New Science of Evolutionary Forecasting

Newly discovered patterns in evolution may help scientists make accurate short-term predictions.

Nasonia wasp wings.
evolution

Evolving With a Little Help From Our Friends

A new theory suggests that cooperation between a host and its microbes may be a significant evolutionary force.