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Cell Biology

Of genes, chromosomes and oratorios

Jenny Graves has spent her life mapping genes and comparing genomes. Now she’s created a musical opus about evolution of life on this planet — bringing the same drive and experimentalism she brought to the study of marsupial chromosomes.

Radioactive drugs strike cancer with precision

The tumor-seeking radiopharmaceuticals are charting a new course in oncology, with promise for targeted treatments with fewer side effects

Spots, stripes and more: Working out the logic of animal patterns

More than 70 years ago, mathematician Alan Turing proposed a mechanism that explained how patterns could emerge from bland uniformity. Scientists are still using his model — and adding new twists — to gain a deeper understanding of animal markings.

The untapped potential of stem cells in menstrual blood

Long overlooked, menstrual stem cells could have important medical applications, including diagnosing endometriosis

CRISPR gene editing: Moving closer to home

With the first medical therapy approved and systems like CRISPR-Cas showing up in complex cells, there’s a lot going on in the genome editing field. Here’s our primer.

We urgently need data for equitable personalized medicine

OPINION: A massive bias in medical studies toward men of European origin means that genetic variants in understudied populations don’t get the focus they deserve

Genes and heart disease: Finally making the link

Polygenic risk scores — a patient’s chance, based on tiny DNA variants, of developing cardiovascular disease, breast cancer and more — are coming to clinics. But there are kinks to iron out and accuracy remains an issue.

Why scientists are making transparent wood

Stronger than plastic and tougher than glass, the resin-filled material is being exploited for smartphone screens, insulated windows and more

The remaining frontiers in fighting hepatitis C

A scientist whose work was key to identifying, studying and finding treatments for this life-threatening virus discusses the scientific journey and challenges that persist

Where the heck did all those structures inside complex cells come from?

Scientists agree that eons ago, a bacterium took up residence inside another cell and became its powerhouse, the mitochondrion. But there are competing theories about the birth of other organelles such as the nucleus and endoplasmic reticulum.

Clever DNA tricks

As cells divide, they must copy all of their chromosomes once and only once, or chaos would ensue. How do they do it? Key controls happen well before replication even starts.

After Covid-19, can mRNA vaccines help with cancer as well?

The pandemic put the technology, long in development, to the test. Here’s a look at the status of its application to cancer and when it might reach patients.

Amyloidosis: Beyond Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

Amyloid plaque can build up in body organs other than the brain. The resulting diseases — AL amyloidosis, ATTR amyloidosis and more — cause much suffering.

How lunar cycles guide the spawning of corals, worms and more

Many sea creatures release eggs and sperm into the water on just the right nights of the month. Researchers are starting to understand the biological rhythms that sync them to phases of the moon.

Small wonders: The antibodies from camels and sharks that could change medicine

A handful of animals make a pared-down version of these pathogen-fighting proteins of our immune system. Scientists hope to harness them as treatments for ills from cancer to Covid, for tracking cells in the body, and more.

How to make corn more like cactus

It’s an agricultural moonshot: Scientists hope to increase plant yields by hacking photosynthesis, the process that powers life on Earth

Could mitochondria be the key to a healthy brain?

Some researchers suspect these bacterial ancestors living within our cells may contribute to a wide range of neurological and psychiatric disorders

Tiny liquid droplets are driving a cell biology rethink

A recently recognized biophysical feature in the fluid of living cells has biologists thinking afresh about how cells carve up their space

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