What's up in

microbiology

Red slime mold
Multimedia

Seeing the Beautiful Intelligence of Microbes

Bacterial biofilms and slime molds are more than crude patches of goo. Detailed time-lapse microscopy reveals how they sense and explore their surroundings, communicate with their neighbors and adaptively reshape themselves.

biophysics

Bacteria Use Brainlike Bursts of Electricity to Communicate

With electrical signals, simple cells organize themselves into complex societies and negotiate with other colonies.

microbiology

Building Codes for Bacterial Cities

Hydrodynamics and competition guide the architectural design of biofilm fortresses.

School of Fish
biophysics

Swirling Bacteria Linked to the Physics of Phase Transitions

The new experiments suggest that simple models can explain the behavior of thousands of interacting organisms.

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.

genomics

Genetic Architects Untwist DNA’s Turns

Researchers have used the gene-editing tool CRISPR to manipulate the way that DNA coils up inside the cell — another step in the quest to understand how the genome’s 3-D structure impacts its function.

genomics

Giant Genetic Map Shows Life’s Hidden Links

In a monumental set of experiments, spread out over nearly two decades, biologists removed genes two at a time to uncover the secret workings of the cell.

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.