What's up in
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.
Peptides on Stardust May Have Provided a Shortcut to Life
The discovery that short peptides can form spontaneously on cosmic dust hints at more of a role for them in the earliest stages of life’s origin, on Earth or elsewhere.
Biologists Rethink the Logic Behind Cells’ Molecular Signals
The molecular signaling systems of complex cells are nothing like simple electronic circuits. The logic governing their operation is riotously complex — but it has advantages.
Secret Workings of Smell Receptors Revealed for First Time
Researchers have finally seen how some smell receptors bind to odor molecules. The work yields new insights into one of the most mysterious and versatile senses.
Researchers Read the Sugary ‘Language’ on Cell Surfaces
Glycans, the complex sugars that stud cellular surfaces, are like a language that life uses to mediate vital interactions. Researchers are learning how to read their meaning.
Some Proteins Change Their Folds to Perform Different Jobs
Unusual proteins that can quickly fold into different shapes provide cells with a novel regulatory mechanism.
A Newfound Source of Cellular Order in the Chemistry of Life
Inside cells, droplets of biomolecules called condensates merge, divide and dissolve. Their dance may regulate vital processes.