Collage of images including sperm, bacteria, coral, and an illustration of a researcher
Our Favorite Cell and Molecular Biology Stories of 2021
Beyond The Scientist’s coverage of COVID-19’s molecular underpinnings were many other stories highlighting the advances made in scientists’ understanding of the biology of cells.
ABOVE: © IKUMI KAYAMA, STUDIO KAYAMA; B. SHRESTHA ET AL., SCI TRANSL MED, 2021; CHRISTIAN KOST, OSNABRÜCK UNIVERSITY; © ISTOCK.COM, OLEMEDIA
Our Favorite Cell and Molecular Biology Stories of 2021
Our Favorite Cell and Molecular Biology Stories of 2021

Beyond The Scientist’s coverage of COVID-19’s molecular underpinnings were many other stories highlighting the advances made in scientists’ understanding of the biology of cells.

Beyond The Scientist’s coverage of COVID-19’s molecular underpinnings were many other stories highlighting the advances made in scientists’ understanding of the biology of cells.

ABOVE: © IKUMI KAYAMA, STUDIO KAYAMA; B. SHRESTHA ET AL., SCI TRANSL MED, 2021; CHRISTIAN KOST, OSNABRÜCK UNIVERSITY; © ISTOCK.COM, OLEMEDIA
artificial selection, ecology, cell & molecular biology
False color image of two Caenorhabditis elegans roundworms; blue on a black background
Mitochondrial Stress Is Passed Between Generations
Amanda Heidt | Dec 1, 2021
Researchers identified a novel mechanism by which chemically induced stress is “remembered” by the mitochondria of worms more than 50 generations after the original trigger.
MUSCLE CONTROL: Researchers pinpoint how C. elegans (pictured) manages to expel food from its mouth.
The Science Behind How Roundworms Spit
Diana Kwon | Dec 1, 2021
By viewing countless hours of expectorating worms, researchers discover a unique way in which neurons control the movement of muscles.
3D illustration of a tapeworm infestation in a human intestine
Return of the Worms
Catherine Offord | Dec 1, 2021
Immunologists and parasitologists are working to revive the idea that helminths, and more specifically the molecules they secrete, could help treat allergies and autoimmune disease.
December 2021 - Gut Guests - Infographic
Infographic: How Worms that Reside in the Gut Could Influence Health
Catherine Offord | Dec 1, 2021
Research in animals and people supports a range of mechanisms by which the parasites affect physiology and immune responses.
How C. elegans Transmit Stress Signals to Offspring
Infographic: How C. elegans Transmit Stress Signals to Offspring
Amanda Heidt | Dec 1, 2021
Neurons stressed with chemicals produce Wnt, which in turn triggers changes in the germline.
A ship off the coast of Antarctica approaches a beach
Q&A: How to Keep Antarctica Safe from Invasive Species
Dan Robitzski | Nov 23, 2021
The Scientist spoke with University of Wollongong ecologist Dana Bergstrom about protecting the continent’s native plants and animals in the face of climate change and a growing human presence.
Illustration showing how seagull chicks know when predators are lurking
Infographic: Animal Embryos Coopt Sound to Survive and Thrive
Amanda Heidt | Nov 1, 2021
Across the tree of life, animals use sound and other vibrations to glean valuable sensory information about their environments even before they are born.
Abstract graphene structures
Synthetic Organelles Let Researchers Control Cell Behavior
Catherine Offord | Nov 1, 2021
A technique that reversibly bundles tagged cargo into artificial membraneless compartments gives scientists the ability to switch cell processes on and off.
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
Catherine Offord | Nov 1, 2021
Engineered cells produce proteins that allow scientists to turn cellular processes on and off.
Dongsha Atoll in the South China Sea
Ubiquitous Little Earthworms Might Have Got Around on Driftwood
Annie Melchor | Nov 1, 2021
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.
Colorized satellite image of milky sea
Milky Seas Can Be Spotted from Space
Connor Lynch | Nov 1, 2021
Analysis of data from a new satellite sensor helps researchers detect large patches of bioluminescence in the oceans faster than ever before.
oil in water
Stress-Induced Molecular Globs Boost Bacterial Fitness
Ruth Williams | Oct 21, 2021
Liquid conglomerations of molecules that form in bacterial cells in response to stress promote the cells’ survival, a study finds.
dead fish piled in boxes along a pier, with a boat and snowy mountains in the background
Fish Poop a Big Player in Ocean Carbon Sequestration
Katarina Zimmer | Oct 8, 2021
A modeling study estimates that by drastically reducing fish biomass over the past century, industrial fishing may be affecting ocean chemistry, nutrient fluxes, and carbon cycling as much as climate change.