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The finding confirms that a cluster of cells that directs the fate of other cells in the developing embryo is evolutionarily conserved across the animal kingdom.

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Rather than getting a gene for its original function, a horizontal gene transfer provides the raw material for evolutionary innovation.

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Authors of a new study suggest that 520-million-year-old structures, previously identified as the brains of ancient arthropods, are instead preserved microbial biofilms.

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image: Frogs Fight Back From Fungal Attack

Frogs Fight Back From Fungal Attack

By Ruth Williams | March 29, 2018

A decade after chytridiomycosis killed scores of amphibians in Panama, some species are recovering. New research indicates why.  

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image: Monitoring Mutations with Microfluidics

Monitoring Mutations with Microfluidics

By Ruth Williams | March 15, 2018

A device dubbed the “mother machine” enables real-time observation of mutagenesis in single bacterial cells.  

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image: Hibernating Rodents Feel Less Cold

Hibernating Rodents Feel Less Cold

By Abby Olena | December 19, 2017

Syrian hamsters and thirteen-lined ground squirrels are tolerant of chilly temperatures, thanks to amino acid changes in a cold-responsive ion channel. 

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image: The Weird Growth Strategy of Earth’s First Trees

The Weird Growth Strategy of Earth’s First Trees

By Shawna Williams | October 24, 2017

Ancient fossils reveal how woodless trees got so big: by continuously ripping apart their xylem and knitting it back together.

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image: Coastal Critters Make Epic Voyages After 2011 Tsunami

Coastal Critters Make Epic Voyages After 2011 Tsunami

By Ashley Yeager | September 28, 2017

Marine species survived rafting thousands of kilometers on debris swept into the water by the giant wave, scientists say.

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image: How Poison Frogs Avoid Poisoning Themselves

How Poison Frogs Avoid Poisoning Themselves

By Abby Olena | September 21, 2017

Amphibians resist their own chemical defenses with amino acid modifications in the sequence for a target receptor.

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A study of a simple marine animal suggests that the common ancestor of cnidarians and bilaterians may have had three germ layers instead of two.

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