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microbiology

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.