The Embryo's Secrets Revealed

Volume 31 Issue 12 | December 2017

Cover Story

New technologies reveal the dynamic changes in mouse and human embryos during the first week after fertilization.

Featured Articles

image: 2017 Top 10 Innovations

2017 Top 10 Innovations

By The Scientist Staff | December 1, 2017

From single-cell analysis to whole-genome sequencing, this year’s best new products shine on many levels.

image: Search for Life on the Red Planet

Search for Life on the Red Planet

By Diana Kwon | December 1, 2017

Growing evidence points to a once-habitable world—and recent findings suggest that life could exist on Mars today.




Meet some of the people featured in the December 2017 issue of The Scientist.


Passing the Torch

Looking back, looking forward

Speaking of Science

Ten-Minute Sabbatical

Take a break from the bench to puzzle and peruse.


Insects’ Neural Learning and Memory Center Discovered in Crustaceans

Aggressive little marine predators, mantis shrimps possess a mushroom body that appears identical to the one found in insects.

Robotic Birds Help Decode Avian Deception

Magpie-larks trick rivals with solo “duets” to defend territory.

Cataloging Fungal Life in Antarctic Seas

Brazilian researchers report a relatively large diversity of fungi in marine ecosystems surrounding Antarctica, but warn that climate change could bring unpleasant surprises.


Meet the Arachnid That May Add a New Chapter to the Book on Sensory Biology

The whip spider senses the world in weird and wonderful ways.

Modus Operandi

Researchers Make Knockout Stem Cell Lines in One Step

Combining gene editing and stem-cell induction improves efficiency of functional genetic analyses.

The Literature

Researchers Identify Obesity-Diabetes Link

Exosomes produced by macrophages in fatty tissue influence insulin sensitivity in distant cell types, a study finds.

Support Cells Gain Stem Cell-Like Properties After Nerve Injury

When peripheral nerves are severed, Schwann cells at the injury site begin to proliferate and exhibit stem cell-like gene expression patterns.

Immune System Targets Diverse Viruses Using the Same Small Peptide

A single receptor on natural killer cells recognizes an amino acid sequence conserved across Zika, dengue, and related pathogens.


Captivated by Chromosomes

Peering through a microscope since age 14, Joseph Gall, now 89, still sees wonder at the other end.

Scientist to Watch

Neslihan Taş Studies Permafrost Microbes as They’re Roused by a Warming Climate

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researcher’s work will help predict how the Arctic is responding to climate change—and the global effects of those changes.

Lab Tools

Optical Cell Sorting

Researchers are using light and new image processing tools for label-free cell characterization.


Philanthropic Funding Makes Waves in Basic Science

Private funders are starting to support big projects, and they’re rewriting the playbook on fueling scientific research.

Reading Frames

Sense, Sensibility, and Neuroscience

Jane Austen can teach us a lot about how our brains handle uncertainty.


Meet the Press, 1967

Fifty years ago, Arthur Kornberg announced to reporters that his team had synthesized functional DNA.

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