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A Mutation Turned Ants Into Parasites in One Generation
A new genetics study of ant “social parasites” shows how complex sets of features can emerge rapidly and potentially split species.
How a Human Smell Receptor Works Is Finally Revealed
After decades of frustration, researchers have determined how an airborne scent molecule links to a human smell receptor.
How the ‘Diamond of the Plant World’ Helped Land Plants Evolve
Structural studies of the robust material called sporopollenin reveal how it made plants hardy enough to reproduce on dry land.
In Test Tubes, RNA Molecules Evolve Into a Tiny Ecosystem
When researchers gave a genetic molecule the ability to replicate, it evolved over time into a complex network of “hosts” and “parasites” that both competed and cooperated to survive.
In Sexy Worms, Inheritance Beyond Genes Can Help Evolution
Traits from RNA molecules passed between multiple generations of worms can work with genetic changes to influence future evolution.
Life With Longer Genetic Codes Seems Possible — but Less Likely
Life could use a more expansive genetic code in theory, but new work shows that improving on three-letter codons would be a challenge.