A Hawaiian bobtail squid (Euprymna scolopes) rests on a reflective surface
Reshuffled Genomes May Explain Cephalopods’ Smarts
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.
ABOVE: TOM KLEINDINST
Reshuffled Genomes May Explain Cephalopods’ Smarts
Reshuffled Genomes May Explain Cephalopods’ Smarts

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.

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.

ABOVE: TOM KLEINDINST

evolutionary biology

Reddish shelf fungi on a log
This Fungus Has More Than 17,000 Sexes
James M. Gaines | Apr 20, 2022
Advances in sequencing technologies have finally allowed researchers to zero in on the genetic diversity underlying the incredible mating system of shelf fungi.
bat flying in front of tan building
Fruit Bats Echolocate During the Day Despite Having Great Vision
Natalia Mesa | Apr 20, 2022
Contrary to what researchers had assumed, Egyptian fruit bats don’t rely solely on sight to orient themselves as they drink and forage for food in daylight. 
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Aging and Cancer: A Complex Relationship
The Scientist Creative Services Team | Aug 11, 2021
An expert panel will discuss how aging affects cancer risk, development, and treatment practices.
Drosophila melanogaster on cactus leaf
Fruit Flies Evolve in Time with the Seasons: Study
Natalia Mesa | Mar 17, 2022
Researchers find that evolution can operate on extraordinarily fast timescales.
Drawing of white squid-like animal in blue water
Ten-Limbed Octopus Ancestor Described, Named After Biden
Natalia Mesa | Mar 10, 2022
Octopuses were around 82 million years earlier than scientists previously thought—and had two extra limbs at the time.
Sunflowers, in visible spectrum on left half (yellow colors) and UV spectrum on right half (purple and white colors).
Sunflowers’ Bee-Attracting Ultraviolet Also Helps Retain Moisture
Natalia Mesa | Feb 8, 2022
The dual purposes of the plants’ hidden colors may conflict as the climate warms, authors of a new study suggest.
A close-up image of pale green seeds inside of a green capsule taken by a scanning electron microscope
Essential Genes Protected from Mutations
Dan Robitzski | Jan 25, 2022
Epigenetic structures appear to reduce the rate of changes in genes essential for survival and reproduction, a study finds, challenging the notion that mutations are evenly distributed throughout the genome prior to selection.
A notecard with outdated names of prokaryotic phyla crossed out and replaced with the newer names.
Newly Renamed Prokaryote Phyla Cause Uproar
Dan Robitzski | Jan 4, 2022
The International Committee on Systematics of Prokaryotes recently pulled the rank of phylum into its code of official nomenclature. Experts say the move will help standardize science in the long run but potentially disrupt research now.
Cranes in flight
Why Migratory Birds Often Have Paler Wings Than Other Birds
Amanda Heidt | Dec 7, 2021
A new study suggests that lighter colors may help these species stay cool on their long journeys, when birds are pushing themselves to their physiological limits.
The man-of-war fish (Nomeus gronovii), a species of medusafish, near the tentacles of a siphonophore.
Medusafishes Are Grouped by Shared, Odd Traits: Study
Devin A. Reese | Dec 1, 2021
Shared features, such as thick, slimy skin and a throat filled with teeth, suggest that medusafishes are all related.
snake eating another snake
Male Snakes Cannibalizing Females Present Evolutionary Puzzle
Chloe Tenn | Nov 15, 2021
The Scientist speaks with organismal biologist Xavier Glaudas about possible reasons for his recent finding that male Montpellier snakes cannibalize female conspecifics.
a spiny mouse sits on a piece of wood holding a small morsel to its mouth
Spiny Mice Appear to Regenerate Damaged Kidneys
Dan Robitzski | Nov 3, 2021
The mice, already known to regenerate skin, seem to avoid the tissue scarring that leads to organ failure in other animals.
silhouette of a chimpanzee swinging against a blue sky
Alu Leap May Explain Why Apes Don’t Have Tails
Annie Melchor | Sep 23, 2021
A transposable element that jumped into the TBXT gene, which is linked to tail morphology, appears to be to blame for our missing appendage.
A smiling Black man leans against a colorful wall
Shane Campbell-Staton Dissects the Anthropocene
Lisa Winter | Sep 1, 2021
The Princeton University evolutionary biologist studies how animals are changing due to human activity.
3 by 5 grid of black and white photos of indigenous Filipino portraits
Indigenous Filipino Group Has Highest Known Denisovan Ancestry
Annie Melchor | Aug 13, 2021
Researchers found the relatively high proportion of DNA from a hominin cousin—nearly 5 percent—when they scanned more than 1,000 genomes from 118 distinct ethnic groups.
A microscopy image of several endometrial stromal fibroblasts
Gene Offers Clue to How Human Labor Starts
Christie Wilcox | Aug 1, 2021
Genes associated with preterm birth and protecting the fetus from the mother’s immune system appear to be regulated by HAND2.
black and white photo of Richard Lewontin standing in front of a chalkboard covered in equations
Evolutionary Biologist Richard Lewontin Dies at 92
Annie Melchor | Jul 8, 2021
The Harvard University evolutionary biologist pioneered the use of protein gel electrophoresis to study molecular genetics.  
Illustration of humans and mice and their gut microbiota
Infographic: Microbiome-Driven Adaptations in Animals
Catherine Offord | Jul 1, 2021
Researchers are using experiments and observational studies to look for host genetic variation that could be partly determined by the gut microbiota.
An illustration of green bacteria floating above neutral-colored intestinal villi
The Inside Guide: The Gut Microbiome’s Role in Host Evolution
Catherine Offord | Jul 1, 2021
Bacteria that live in the digestive tracts of animals may influence the adaptive trajectories of their hosts.