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natural selection

The zoologist Arik Kershenbaum of the University of Cambridge and his dog.
Q&A

Why Extraterrestrial Life May Not Seem Entirely Alien

March 18, 2021

The zoologist Arik Kershenbaum argues that because some evolutionary challenges are truly universal, life throughout the cosmos may share certain features.

Illustration of a blue tiger.
Abstractions blog

How Neutral Theory Altered Ideas About Biodiversity

December 8, 2020

The simple insight that most changes are random had a profound effect on genetics, evolution and ecology.

Art for "New Turmoil Over Weighing Genes’ Share of Complex Traits"
genomics

New Turmoil Over Predicting the Effects of Genes

April 23, 2019

Promising efforts at disentangling the effects of genes and the environment on complicated traits may have been confounded by statistical problems.

evolution

Should Evolution Treat Our Microbes as Part of Us?

November 20, 2018

How does evolution select the fittest “individuals” when they are ecosystems made up of hosts and their microbiomes? Biologist debate the need to revise theories.

Abstractions blog

Why Nature Prefers Couples, Even for Yeast

July 17, 2018

Some species have the equivalent of many more than two sexes, but most do not. A new model suggests the reason depends on how often they mate.

Photo of ants holding larvae.
evolution

The Elusive Calculus of Insects’ Altruism and Kin Selection

April 10, 2018

How the ultra-cooperative behavior of ants, bees and other social insects could have evolved continues to challenge formal analysis. But a new theory about hedging bets against nature’s unpredictability may change the math and shift the debate.

evolution

The Surprising Origins of Life’s Complexity

July 16, 2013

Scientists are exploring how organisms can evolve elaborate structures without Darwinian selection.