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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.
The DNA of some viruses doesn’t use the same four nucleotide bases found in all other life. New work shows how this exception is possible and hints that it could be more common than we think.
Maintaining perfect stability through negative feedback is a basic element of electrical circuitry, but it’s been a mystery how cells could do it — until now.
An ambitious study in yeast shows that the health of cells depends on the highly intertwined effects of many genes, few of which can be deleted together without consequence.
Mechanical tension between tethered cells cues developing tissues to fold. Researchers can now program synthetic tissue to make coils, cubes and rippling plates.
Evolution settled on a genetic code that uses four letters to name 20 amino acids. Synthetic biologists adding new bases to DNA will be free to improve on nature — if they can.
Two new papers urge caution in using powerful genome-editing technology against invasive species: Models show that aggressive gene drives can’t be contained in the wild.
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.
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