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DNA

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.

Art for "Scientists Discover Nearly 200,000 Kinds of Ocean Viruses"
Abstractions blog

Scientists Discover Nearly 200,000 Kinds of Ocean Viruses

New work raises the estimated diversity of viruses in the seas more than twelvefold and lays the groundwork for a better understanding of their impact on global nutrient cycles.

Art for "Dormant Microbes Bide Their Time Over Decades - Old Fires"
ecology

Heat-Loving Microbes, Once Dormant, Thrive Over Decades-Old Fire

In harsh ecosystems around the world, microbiologists are finding evidence that “microbial seed banks” protect biodiversity from changing conditions.

Art for "Researchers Rethink Ancestry of Complex Cells"
evolution

Researchers Rethink the Ancestry of Complex Cells

New studies revise ideas about the symbiosis that gave mitochondria to cells and about whether the last common ancestor of all eukaryotes was one cell or many.

Q&A

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

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

A row of skulls ending with homo sapiens, foreground, found at The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History’s Hall of Human Origins.
Abstractions blog

Artificial Intelligence Finds Ancient ‘Ghosts’ in Modern DNA

With the help of deep learning techniques, paleoanthropologists find evidence of long-lost branches on the human family tree.

Art for "Fragile DNA Enables New Adaptations to Evolve Quickly"
evolution

Fragile DNA Enables New Adaptations to Evolve Quickly

If highly repetitive gene-regulating sequences in DNA are easily lost, that may explain why some adaptations evolve quickly and repeatedly.

Abstractions blog

Gene Drives Work in Mice (if They’re Female)

Biologists have demonstrated for the first time that a controversial genetic engineering technology works, with caveats, in mammals.

Art for "Stem Cells Remember Tissues’ Past Injuries"
developmental biology

Stem Cells Remember Tissues’ Past Injuries

Stem cells seem to retain memories of old injuries to improve future healing. When that system goes wrong, chronic inflammation can result.