Social Codes

Volume 29 Issue 1 | January 2015

Cover Story

The Genetics of Society

By Claire Asher and Seirian Sumner | January 1, 2015

Researchers aim to unravel the molecular mechanisms by which a single genotype gives rise to diverse castes in eusocial organisms.

Featured Articles

image: A Movable Defense

A Movable Defense

By Eugene V. Koonin and Mart Krupovic | January 1, 2015

In the evolutionary arms race between pathogens and hosts, genetic elements known as transposons are regularly recruited as assault weapons for cellular defense.

image: Stress Fractures

Stress Fractures

By Daniel Cossins | January 1, 2015

Social adversity shapes humans’ immune systems—and probably their susceptibility to disease—by altering the expression of large groups of genes.




Meet some of the people featured in the January 2015 issue of The Scientist.


Performance Art

Regulation of genome expression orchestrates the behavior of insect castes and the human response to social stress.

Speaking of Science

Speaking of Science

January 2015's selection of notable quotes

Freeze Frame

Caught on Camera

Selected Images of the Day from


May the Best Rodent Win

Are mice, considered by some to be the less intelligent rodent, edging out rats as laboratory models of decision making?

There’s CRISPR in Your Yogurt

We’ve all been eating food enhanced by the genome-editing tool for years.

Micro Master

Thomas Deerinck has been at the helm of a microscope for more than four decades. And he’s got lots to show for it, including a half a dozen placements in the Nikon Small World competition.

Taming Bushmeat

Chinese farmers’ efforts at rearing wild animals may benefit conservation and reduce human health risks.

Critic at Large

Assessing Research Productivity

A new way of evaluating academics’ research output using easily obtained data

Online First

Funding Research in Africa

The ongoing Ebola epidemic in West Africa is drawing more money to study the virus, but what about funding for African science in general?

Modus Operandi

Grab ’n’ Glow

Engineered proteins can tether multiple fluorescent molecules to give a brighter signal—and that’s not all.

The Literature

Straighten Out

Forces from bidirectional growth plates mechanically realign broken bones in infant mice.

Tangle Trigger

An enzyme that cleaves tau protein in acidic cellular conditions may trigger early events in Alzheimer’s disease.

Fertility Treatment Fallout

Mouse offspring conceived by in vitro fertilization are metabolically different from naturally conceived mice.


Why, Oh Y?

A toothpick and a bit of chance shaped David Page’s career, which he has dedicated to understanding the mammalian Y chromosome and fetal germ cell development.

Scientist to Watch

Doris Bachtrog: Sex Chromosome Wrangler

Associate Professor, Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley. Age: 39

Lab Tools

Eye on the Fly

Automating Drosophila behavior screens gives researchers a break from tedious observation, and enables higher-throughput, more-quantitative experiments than ever before.

Picturing Infection

Whole-animal, light-based imaging of infected small mammals


Know Your PIO

Scientists and public information officers share several common goals. Here’s how to collaborate effectively.

Reading Frames

Innovation Renovation

Is the fear of funding and doing fundamental, risky research killing our ability to make breakthroughs?

Capsule Reviews

Capsule Reviews

Does Altruism Exist?, Ancestors in Our Genome, Fred Sanger—Double Nobel Laureate, and Stiffs, Skulls & Skeletons


The Sex Parts of Plants, 1736

Carl Linnaeus’s plant classification system was doomed, and he knew it.

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