First Support for a Physics Theory of Life

Take chemistry, add energy, get life. The first tests of Jeremy England’s provocative origin-of-life hypothesis are in, and they appear to show how order can arise from nothing. …

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Building Codes for Bacterial Cities

Hydrodynamics and competition guide the architectural design of biofilm fortresses. …

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High-fat diet in pregnancy can cause mental health problems in offspring

A high-fat diet not only creates health problems for expectant mothers, but new research in an animal model suggests it alters the development of the brain and endocrine system of their offspring and has a long-term impact on offspring behavior. The new study links an unhealthy diet during pregnancy to mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression in children. “Given the high level of dietary fat consumption and maternal…

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The Illuminating Geometry of Viruses

Mathematical insights into how RNA helps viruses pull together their protein shells could guide future studies of viral behavior and function. …

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Missing Mutations Suggest a Reason for Sex

Sex might help natural selection purge excessive mistakes from our genes. …

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How Nature Solves Problems Through Computation

The evolutionary biologist Jessica Flack seeks the computational rules that groups of organisms use to solve problems. …

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Can Microbes Encourage Altruism?

If gut bacteria can sway their hosts to be selfless, it could answer a riddle that goes back to Darwin. …

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Moonlighting Genes Evolve for a Venomous Job

An unexpected mechanism allows wasps to rapidly co-opt genes for new toxic functions. …

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