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RNA

Illustration of two strips of movie film coiled around each other in a double helix.
behavior

Inherited Learning? It Happens, but How Is Uncertain

October 16, 2019

Studies suggest that epigenetics allows some learned adaptive responses to be passed down to new generations. The question is how.

3D illustration of a complex atomic structure.
Abstractions blog

Origin-of-Life Study Points to Chemical Chimeras, Not RNA

September 16, 2019

Origin-of-life researchers have usually studied the potential of pure starting materials, but messy mixtures of chemicals may kick-start life more effectively.

Q&A

Doudna’s Confidence in CRISPR’s Research Potential Burns Bright

February 27, 2019

Jennifer Doudna, one of CRISPR’s primary innovators, stays optimistic about how the gene-editing tool will continue to empower basic biological understanding.

Art for "‘Lava-Lamp’ Proteins Inside Cells May Protect and Regulate"
cell biology

‘Lava-Lamp’ Proteins May Help Cells Cheat Death

November 26, 2018

With proteins that reversibly self-assemble into droplets, cells may control their metabolism — and harden themselves against harsh conditions.

RNA Peptide 520
origins of life

The End of the RNA World Is Near, Biochemists Argue

December 19, 2017

For decades, an origin-of-life story starring RNA has prevailed. New research may be shaking that theory’s hold on our understanding of life’s beginnings.

Illustration of a doctor trying to get to a patient
molecular biology

Bacteria Sacrifice DNA Repair for Better RNA

November 22, 2017

Preserving its DNA ought to be a cell’s top priority. But bacteria slow their DNA repair to a crawl in favor of proofreading gene transcripts.

origins of life

Life’s First Molecule Was Protein, Not RNA, New Model Suggests

November 2, 2017

Which mattered first at the dawn of life: proteins or nucleic acids? Proteins may have had the edge if a theorized process let them grow long enough to become self-replicating catalysts.

Virus Hamiltonian Path
molecular biology

The Illuminating Geometry of Viruses

July 19, 2017

Mathematical insights into how RNA helps viruses pull together their protein shells could guide future studies of viral behavior and function.

Illustration: Viruses Find a New Way to Hijack Cells
viruses

Viruses Find a New Way to Hijack Cells

December 6, 2016

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.