Features

Conceptual image of an embryo with sound waves
Embryonic Eavesdropping: How Animals Hear and Respond to Sound
Amanda Heidt | Nov 1, 2021
Recent findings buck the traditional idea that embryos are passive agents and instead suggest that by tuning into vibrations, organisms can better prepare to enter the outside world.
Conceptual image of gene expression in DNA
Enhancers: Conserved in Activity, Not in Sequence
Jack J. Lee | Nov 1, 2021
Certain stretches of DNA that regulate gene expression have evolved differently from protein-coding genes.

Editorial

Double exposure of woman hands working on computer and DNA hologram drawing
Brave New Publishing World
Brave New Publishing World
Preprints are likely here to stay. The press, the public, and the research community must adapt to this relatively recent model of scientific publishing if we are to extract its benefits while avoiding its pitfalls.

Speaking of Science

Crossword image for November's puzzle
Ten Minute Sabbatical
Ten Minute Sabbatical
Take a break from the bench to puzzle and peruse.

Critic at Large

Illustration depicting peers reviewing a paper
Opinion: The Problem with Preprints
Opinion: The Problem with Preprints
Preprints can be valuable additions to the scientific literature. But we must start seeing them as perishable commodities rather than akin to peer-reviewed, published studies.

Notebook

Colorized satellite image of milky sea
Milky Seas Can Be Spotted from Space
Milky Seas Can Be Spotted from Space
Analysis of data from a new satellite sensor helps researchers detect large patches of bioluminescence in the oceans faster than ever before.
Dongsha Atoll in the South China Sea
Ubiquitous Little Earthworms Might Have Got Around on Driftwood
Ubiquitous Little Earthworms Might Have Got Around on Driftwood
Researchers also tried placing the worms on pigeons as part of a study aiming to uncover how the tiny invertebrates ended up all around the world.

Modus Operandi

Abstract graphene structures
Synthetic Organelles Let Researchers Control Cell Behavior
Synthetic Organelles Let Researchers Control Cell Behavior
A technique that reversibly bundles tagged cargo into artificial membraneless compartments gives scientists the ability to switch cell processes on and off.

The Literature

Image of fruit fly epithelial cells (pseudo colored in this micrograph)
Epithelial Cell Signaling Helps Maintain Tissue Integrity
Epithelial Cell Signaling Helps Maintain Tissue Integrity
Using a transgenic fruit fly model, researchers demonstrate how epithelial barriers are maintained in living organisms despite high levels of cell turnover and death.
Photograph looking up a tree trunk
Contrary to Common Belief, Some Older Trees Make Fewer Seeds
Contrary to Common Belief, Some Older Trees Make Fewer Seeds
An analysis of more than half a million trees reveals that many species begin to taper off seed production once they hit a certain size.

Scientist to Watch

Microscopic photograph of brain tissue demonstrating the characteristics of Alzheimer's disease
David Gate Probes Links Between Alzheimer’s and the Immune System
David Gate Probes Links Between Alzheimer’s and the Immune System
The Northwestern University researcher studies how adaptive immune cells influence neurodegenerative disease.

Careers

Hand drawing a red line between the UK and the rest of the European Union. Concept of Brexit.
How Brexit Is Transforming the UK’s STEM Community
How Brexit Is Transforming the UK’s STEM Community
Scientists face the ramifications of the country’s departure from the European Union, from delays in laboratory supplies to difficulties hiring international students and faculty.

Reading Frames

Rendering of an iceberg
Opinion: Being, Feeling, and Knowing: Our Path to Consciousness
Opinion: Being, Feeling, and Knowing: Our Path to Consciousness
The idea that minds and consciousness might be generated by the nervous system alone is false.

Foundations

Photograph of drought land due to climate change
An Earthy-Smelling Substance, 1964
An Earthy-Smelling Substance, 1964
How the pungent odor that occurs after a light rain became a well-studied phenomenon

Infographics

Illustration showing how engineered cells produce proteins that allow scientists to turn cellular processes on and off
Infographic: One Way to Flip the Cell Behavior Switch
Infographic: One Way to Flip the Cell Behavior Switch
Engineered cells produce proteins that allow scientists to turn cellular processes on and off.
Elements from illustration showing enhancer evolution and function
Infographic: Enhancer Activity Across the Tree of Life
Infographic: Enhancer Activity Across the Tree of Life
Scientists are still trying to paint a complete picture, but it’s clear that these gene expression regulators have an unusual evolutionary history.
Illustration showing how seagull chicks know when predators are lurking
Infographic: Animal Embryos Coopt Sound to Survive and Thrive
Infographic: Animal Embryos Coopt Sound to Survive and Thrive
Across the tree of life, animals use sound and other vibrations to glean valuable sensory information about their environments even before they are born.