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molecular biology

Shapeshifting Protein: Still
molecular biology

The Shape-Shifting Army Inside Your Cells

Proteins work like rigid keys to activate cellular functions — or so everyone thought. Scientists are discovering a huge number of proteins that shape-shift to do their work, upending a century-old maxim of biology.

Illustration: Viruses Find a New Way to Hijack Cells
viruses

Viruses Find a New Way to Hijack Cells

A virus that causes crippling birth defects has been shown to do something else: It changes thousands of messages coming from DNA that control normal cellular activities.

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

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.

genetics

A Secret Flexibility Found in Life’s Blueprints

A new study reveals that individual genes can create many different versions of the molecular machinery that powers the cell.

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.

Quantized Columns

Deep Secrets and the Thrill of Discovery

The biologist Sean B. Carroll rediscovers the scientific thrill of an unexpected revelation.