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A Cape ground squirrel sits upright on its hind legs, holding its forelimbs up to its face.
Animals Are Shape-Shifting in Response to a Warming World
Forced to respond to a climate that’s changing faster than it ever has, it remains unclear whether species’ adaptations can keep pace.
Animals Are Shape-Shifting in Response to a Warming World
Animals Are Shape-Shifting in Response to a Warming World

Forced to respond to a climate that’s changing faster than it ever has, it remains unclear whether species’ adaptations can keep pace.

Forced to respond to a climate that’s changing faster than it ever has, it remains unclear whether species’ adaptations can keep pace.

evolutionary biology
Brown-red ants climb over a pile of white translucent larvae and orange pupae. Some use their mandibles to position the larvae.
Ant Pupae Feed Adults, Larvae with Secreted Liquid 
Viviane Callier | Nov 30, 2022 | 4 min read
The molting fluid of ant pupae functions as “metabolic currency” in the ant colony and may have enabled the evolution of eusociality. 
Illustration from the epigenetics and the genome infographic
Infographic: How Epigenetic Marks Can Change the Genome
Katarina Zimmer | Nov 1, 2022 | 2 min read
Although epigenetic changes were long thought to largely act on the genome, rather than as part of it, research is now showing that these patterns can, directly or indirectly, change the genetic code.
800x560-aug-31-2021
Aging and Cancer: A Complex Relationship
The Scientist Creative Services Team | 2 min read
An expert panel will discuss how aging affects cancer risk, development, and treatment practices.
Cellular DNA and epigenetics
Do Epigenetic Changes Influence Evolution?
Katarina Zimmer | Nov 1, 2022 | 10+ min read
Evidence is mounting that epigenetic marks on DNA can influence future generations in a variety of ways. But how such phenomena might affect large-scale evolutionary processes is hotly debated.
Illustration of people dying from the Black Death
Genes that Aided Black Death Survival Linked to Autoimmunity
Jef Akst | Oct 20, 2022 | 2 min read
A new study points to repercussions of the Medieval pandemic for the health of modern humans.
The structure of a biological cell (macro)
The Long and Winding Road to Eukaryotic Cells
Amanda Heidt | Oct 17, 2022 | 10+ min read
Despite recent advances in the study of eukaryogenesis, much remains unresolved about the origin and evolution of the most complex domain of life.
Microscopy image of the cnidarian <em>Hydractinia symbiolongicarpus&nbsp;</em>with cell nuclei stained blue and oocytes stained yellow
Ancient Immunoglobulin Genes Help Cnidarians Decide to Fight or Fuse
Sophie Fessl, PhD | Oct 11, 2022 | 4 min read
Immunoglobulin genes might have evolved much earlier than previously expected, perhaps even in the common ancestor of Cnidarians and Bilateria, a study suggests.
Two agar plates superimposed on each other. One is empty while the other is growing multiple different cultured organisms, colored white, beige, and green.
Most Archaea and Bacteria Are Nameless. SeqCode Could Change That
Dan Robitzski | Sep 27, 2022 | 8 min read
The Scientist spoke with microbiologist William Whitman about a new system of nomenclature for prokaryotic organisms that can’t be cultured.
man having grilled beef ribs
Notable Science Quotes
The Scientist Staff | Sep 14, 2022 | 3 min read
Taking stock of the CDC's COVID-19 response, the importance of forest science, the evolutionary importance of chewing, and more
Illustration of RNAs
Infographic: Noncoding RNA in the Brain
Christie Wilcox, PhD | Sep 12, 2022 | 4 min read
Neurologically important noncoding RNAs come in many shapes and sizes.
Artist&rsquo;s rendition of multiple <em>Neisseria gonorrhoeae</em>, the bacteria that causes gonorrhea, depicted as two spheres stuck together, each covered in tendrils.
Gonorrhea-Blocking Mutation Also Protects Against Alzheimer’s: Study
Holly Barker | Aug 5, 2022 | 4 min read
Research traces the evolution of a gene variant that reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, finding that it originally evolved in response to infectious bacteria.
Ad&eacute;lie penguin family
Penguins Are Among the World’s Slowest-Evolving Birds: Study
Catherine Offord | Jul 19, 2022 | 2 min read
The findings mean that penguins may struggle to adapt under rapid climate change, researchers say.
Illustration of a DNA virus sneaking genetic material into a host’s nucleus
Infographic: Possible Mechanisms of Gene Transfer in Eukaryotes
Christie Wilcox, PhD | Jul 5, 2022 | 6 min read
Genetic studies have made it clear that eukaryotic horizontal gene transfer can and does happen. Exactly how, though, remains speculative.
Cow image
Slideshow: Examples of Eukaryotic Horizontal Gene Transfer
Christie Wilcox, PhD | Jul 5, 2022 | 4 min read
Horizontally transferred genes play significant roles in eukaryotic genomes
Landscape illustration
Horizontal Gene Transfer Happens More Often Than Anyone Thought
Christie Wilcox, PhD | Jul 5, 2022 | 10+ min read
DNA passed to and from all kinds of organisms, even across kingdoms, has helped shape the tree of life, to a large and undisputed degree in microbes and also unexpectedly in multicellular fungi, plants, and animals.
Pufferfish underwater in ocean
Pufferfish Don’t Need Functional Stomach, Inflate Instead
Natalia Mesa, PhD | Jul 5, 2022 | 5 min read
The fish use their stomach to swell up to three times their size. Is this why they can’t use the organ to digest proteins?
early giraffe relative at the bottom and modern giraffes at top
“Necks for Sex” May Explain Giraffes’ Distinctive Anatomy 
Andy Carstens | Jun 3, 2022 | 2 min read
An analysis of skull and vertebrae fossils suggests that an early relative of giraffes butted heads to compete for mates, which may reveal why modern giraffes are so throaty.
A microscope image of Legionellales bacteria infecting a protozoan
Ancestral Bacteria May Have Invaded Early Eukaryotic Cells
Clare Watson | Jun 1, 2022 | 2 min read
The discovery that a group of cell-infecting bacteria lived roughly 2 billion years ago stirs a longstanding controversy around which came first: phagocytosis or mitochondria.
a Hawaiian bobtail squid (Euprymna scolopes) resting on a reflective surface
Reshuffled Genomes May Explain Cephalopods’ Smarts
Sophie Fessl, PhD | May 13, 2022 | 4 min read
In two related studies, researchers describe huge chromosomal rearrangements and about 500 novel gene clusters in the octopus, squid, and cuttlefish genomes, which they say could help explain how they evolved their extraordinary brains.
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