DNA Erector Sets

Volume 31 Issue 7/8 | July/August 2017

Featured Articles

image: Building Nanoscale Structures with DNA

Building Nanoscale Structures with DNA

By | July 17, 2017

The versatility of geometric shapes made from the nucleic acid are proving useful in a wide variety of fields from molecular computation to biology to medicine.

image: Grass Routes

Grass Routes

By | July 17, 2017

Researchers are discovering a suite of new locations and functions of endocannabinoid receptors that play roles in sickness and in health.

image: Uncovering Functions of Circular RNAs

Uncovering Functions of Circular RNAs

By | July 17, 2017

Recent research has revealed many surprises about circular RNAs, from findings that they are translated in vivo to links between their expression and disease.




Meet some of the people featured in the July/August issue of The Scientist.


Twists and Turns

New starring roles for nucleic acids

Speaking of Science

Notable Science Quotes

The NIH budget, the nature of science, paternal age, and more


The Evolutionary Roots of Instinct

Did behaviors that seem ingrained become fixed through epigenetic mechanisms and ancestral learning?

Mysterious Brain Waves May Connect REM Sleep with Visual Experiences

New methods could propel investigation of neural “PGO” wave patterns that may underlie critical aspects of visual experience, dreaming, and even psychosis.

Nine Decades of Environmental Change Resurrected From Swedish Seas

Scientists bring marine plankton back to life to study past climate change.

Recreating Fish Migration Written Through Environmental Genomics

Scientists examine floating traces of DNA left by fish to better understand New York’s aquatic life.


Opinion: Address Taxonomic Skew

The domination of model organisms and charismatic megafauna in the literature is a disservice to the life sciences.

Modus Operandi

Microbiota Manipulations

Two research teams develop tools for tinkering with a bacterial genus prominent in human guts.

The Literature

Epigenetic Inheritance in Nematodes

The memory of a temperature spike can persist for as many as 14 generations in C. elegans.

The Unlikely Relationship Between a Brittle Star and a Sea Pansy

The presence of similar light-emitting enzymes in the distantly related organisms lends new insight into bioluminescence evolution.

Researchers Uncover Previously Unknown Immune Cell Subtypes

Using single-cell RNA sequencing, scientists characterize new populations of dendritic cells and monocytes.


Oceans’ Ambassador

Jane Lubchenco has embraced many roles: marine ecologist, science communicator, federal agency administrator, and sustainable fishing advocate.

Scientist to Watch

Emily Balskus Pins Down the Chemistry and Metabolism of Human Microbiomes

At Harvard University the chemical biologist looks for new metabolic pathways to investigate how gut bacteria interact with one another and their hosts.

Lab Tools

The Mechanobiology Garage

New tools for investigating how physical forces affect cells


Identifying Predatory Publishers

How to tell reputable journals from shady ones

Reading Frames

Bacteriophages to the Rescue

 Phage therapy is but one example of using biological entities to reduce our reliance on antibiotics and other failing chemical solutions.


Demonstrating Discontent, May 21, 1990

Activists demanded greater access to and involvement in clinical research for AIDS treatments—and their protests were heard.

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