One of the greatest breakthroughs in twentieth century biology was the finding that RNA can serve as a catalyst and drive some of life’s essential chemical reactions.
I have been fascinated with living things since childhood. Growing up in northern California, I spent a lot of time playing outdoors among plants and animals.
The organisms that cause us untold suffering can also be astounding works of art, sculpted by evolution into elegant, deadly packages. Such is the case for the trypanosomes, the protists I discussed last time as the source of Chagas Disease, but which also cause sleeping sickness in Africa.
Last month forest rangers in India arrested a 21-year-old engineering student and his friend who had been caught carrying a tiger skin that they intended to sell for nearly $25,000.
Somewhere deep in my grandmother’s veins, a blood clot breaks free. Her blood carries the clot past her heart, to her lungs, where it becomes stuck in a pulmonary artery.
It's a sad fact that as members of a species become rarer they tend to suffer from inbreeding. This lack of genetic diversity can lead to birth defects and other problems, making a species even more endangered as time progresses.
Elderly men who have lost the Y in blood cells have their lives cut short, compared with men who still have the little chromosome
This post was originally written for the Superflux blog. Superflux is a collaborative design practice working at the intersection of emerging technologies and everyday life to design for a world in flux.
Clumps of proteins twisted into aberrant shapes cause the prion diseases that have perplexed biologists for decades. The surprises just keep coming with a new report that the simple clusters of proteins responsible for Mad Cow and other prions diseases may, without help from DNA or RNA, be capable of changing form to escape the [...]
An engineered bacterium is able to copy DNA that contains unnatural genetic code
New work from the University of Cambridge solidifies link between epigenetic effects from in utero diet and health problems across generations
Over the past few years a number of studies of ancient and contemporary genomes have reached the same stunning conclusion: early human species interbred, and people today carry DNA from archaic humans, including the Neandertals, as a result of those interspecies trysts.
// Editor's note: Brain Basics from Scientific American Mind is a series of short video primers on the brain and how we feel, think and act.
A new gene-editing technique could lead to more useful animal models of disease, and perhaps one day more effective gene therapy for humans
As many mysteries as the octopus holds—its comprehensive camouflage, smart suckers, agile brain—its genome is surely holding many more (including how it can regenerate its arms—suckers, nerves and all).
Editor's Note: "Along the Tiger's Trail" is a series about the efforts to monitor tigers and their prey in the Malenad landscape in southwestern India that harbors one of the world's largest population of wild tigers.
Tony Zador Tony Zador is a professor of biology at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory who studies auditory processing, attention and decision-making in rodents.
A federal task force should look seriously at investing in genomic methods that allow the simultaneous study of multiple genes
According to the New York Times, synthetic biology is creating DNA out of thin air. A recent article about synthetic biology and consumer goods describes DNA synthesis as a process where “DNA is created on computers and inserted into organisms.” Computers are pretty cool and really useful in synthetic biology labs, but it takes a [...]
Describing a new species for science is not quite as easy as it was in the days of 17th- or 18th-century naturalists. But that just means we have to look a little more closely.