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Biology

artificial intelligence

Where We See Shapes, AI Sees Textures

To researchers’ surprise, deep learning vision algorithms often fail at classifying images because they mostly take cues from textures, not shapes.

Art for "What’s in a Name? Taxonomy Problems Vex Biologists"
taxonomy

What’s in a Name? Taxonomy Problems Vex Biologists

Researchers struggle to incorporate ongoing evolutionary discoveries into an animal classification scheme older than Darwin.

Art for "Bacterial Complexity Revises Ideas About ‘Which Came First?’"
cell biology

Bacterial Complexity Revises Ideas About ‘Which Came First?’

Contrary to popular belief, bacteria have organelles too. Scientists are now studying them for insights into how complex cells evolved.

Abstractions blog

Do Brains Operate at a Tipping Point? New Clues and Complications

New experimental results simultaneously advance and challenge the theory that the brain’s network of neurons balances on the knife-edge between two phases.

Colorized scanning electron micrograph of a T lymphocyte.
Abstractions blog

Immune Cells Measure Time to Identify Foreign Proteins

Immunologists confirm an old hunch: T-cells identify what belongs in the body by timing how long they can bind to it.

Art for "The Body’s Clock Offers a Rhythmic Target to Viruses"
chronobiology

The Body’s Clock Offers a Rhythmic Target to Viruses

Viruses and other parasites may sync with their host’s biological clock — or reset it — to gain an advantage.

Art for "Ancient DNA Yields Snapshots of Vanished Ecosystems"
genomics

Ancient DNA Yields Snapshots of Vanished Ecosystems

Surviving fragments of genetic material preserved in sediments allow scientists to see the full diversity of past life — even microbes.

Illustration: a virus broken up into parts over several cells
viruses

Viruses Can Scatter Their Genes Among Cells and Reassemble

Some viruses can replicate without infecting any one cell with all their genes.

Art for "In Ecology Studies and Selfless Ants, He Finds Hope for the Future"
Q&A

In Ecology Studies and Selfless Ants, He Finds Hope for the Future

For more than six decades, the influential biologist Edward O. Wilson has drawn connections between evolution, ecology and behavior, often sparking controversies inside and outside of science.