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microbiology

evolution

Genetic Engineering to Clash With Evolution

Gene drives promise to spread a trait across an entire population. But evolutionary forces are going to alter even the best-engineered plans.

biophysics

Jammed Cells Expose the Physics of Cancer

The subtle mechanics of densely packed cells may help explain why some cancerous tumors stay put while others break off and spread through the body.

Abstractions blog

How to Grow Metal-Eating Microbes

Metal-eating microbes get energy from rocks and could teach us about life on other worlds — but first scientists had to learn how to grow them in the lab.

microbiology

New Life Found That Lives Off Electricity

Scientists have figured out how microbes can suck energy from rocks. Such lifeforms might be more widespread than anyone anticipated.

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.

Biology

How Strange Twists in DNA Orchestrate Life

Coils and twirls in DNA’s double-helix change how the molecule behaves, opening a new role for topology in the study of life.

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.

Biology

How the Body’s Trillions of Clocks Keep Time

Cellular clocks are almost everywhere. Clues to how they work are coming from the places they’re not.

Biology

At Tiny Scales, a Giant Burst on Tree of Life

A new technique for finding and characterizing microbes has boosted the number of known bacteria by almost 50 percent, revealing a hidden world all around us.