silhouette of a chimpanzee swinging against a blue sky
Alu Leap May Explain Why Apes Don’t Have Tails
A transposable element that jumped into the TBXT gene, which is linked to tail morphology, appears to be to blame for our missing appendage.
ABOVE: https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/swinging-chimp-vii-gm653936174-118857833
Alu Leap May Explain Why Apes Don’t Have Tails
Alu Leap May Explain Why Apes Don’t Have Tails

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 transposable element that jumped into the TBXT gene, which is linked to tail morphology, appears to be to blame for our missing appendage.

ABOVE: https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/swinging-chimp-vii-gm653936174-118857833
pigment, microbiology, developmental biology, evolution
salt on a black background
Salty Diet Helps Gut Bugs Fight Cancer in Mice: Study
Sophie Fessl | Sep 20, 2021
A high-salt diet suppressed the growth of tumors in a mouse model of melanoma, apparently because of an interplay between the gut microbiome and natural killer cells.
Updated Nov 19
A healthcare worker holds up three syringes with clear medicine
To Booster or Not: Scientists and Regulators Debate
Jef Akst | Sep 16, 2021
President Biden’s planned rollout of additional COVID-19 vaccine doses is set to begin next week, but questions remain about who should get them.
cartoon depiction of a pair of scissors about to cut a DNA double helix
Researchers Uncover New Families of Gene-Editing Enzymes
Annie Melchor | Sep 15, 2021
The results reveal evolutionary relatives of the Cas9 enzyme now used extensively in biotechnology.
tube of blood labeled positive for COVID-19 Mu variant
What We Know About Mu, the WHO’s Latest Variant of Interest
Christie Wilcox | Sep 7, 2021
The SARS-CoV-2 variant was first detected in January, but its rising prevalence and potential resistance to vaccines has garnered it special attention from the World Health Organization.
Six primates eat leaves
Umami Taste Receptor Evolved with Primates’ Diets
Abby Olena | Sep 6, 2021
A study suggests that mutations in the gene that encodes the T1R1/T1R3 taste receptor allowed primates that relied on insects for protein to transition to eating leaves and fruit.
a male musk duck
Talking Duck Stuns Animal Behavior Researcher
Christie Wilcox | Sep 5, 2021
Leiden University’s Carel ten Cate tracked down 34-year-old duck recordings—and the man who made them—to verify that musk ducks are capable of vocal learning, an ability that hadn’t been thought to exist in waterfowl.
Watercolor coronaviruses in green, red, blue, and purple are layered above an abstract background of watercolor swashes
Plenty of Evidence for Recombination in SARS-CoV-2
Abby Olena | Sep 2, 2021
Different variants of the virus behind the COVID-19 pandemic are swapping chunks of genetic material, but it’s not yet clear what implications that may have for public health.
Person holding a plate with pink flowers and candles in a boat on a river
“Mystery Fever” Claims the Lives of Dozens of Indian Children
Lisa Winter | Sep 2, 2021
So far, more than 50 people have died of a febrile illness, though the cause isn’t clear.
a veterinarian in a white hazmat suit holding a small pig
The Long Journey to Resolve the Origins of a Previous Pandemic
Martha Nelson | Sep 2, 2021
Dozens of researchers, including myself, worked for years to uncover that swine flu had leapt to humans from a pig in Mexico in 2009. We learned a lot about influenza evolution, pig farming, and outbreak risk along the way.
An illustration showing the damage SARS-CoV-2 wreaks on the body
Infographic: The Havoc SARS-CoV-2 Wreaks on the Body
Diana Kwon | Sep 1, 2021
COVID-19 affects far more than just the lungs. Researchers are actively documenting the damage the disease causes to the heart, brain, liver, and much more.
Megalodon from prehistoric times scene 3D illustration
Classroom Science Leads to Revision of Megalodon’s Size
Connor Lynch | Sep 1, 2021
A handful of high schoolers prompt scientists to develop a new approach for calculating the size of the ancient behemoth.
An image depicting where covid affects the body
SARS-CoV-2’s Wide-Ranging Effects on the Body
Diana Kwon | Sep 1, 2021
Researchers’ painstaking examinations have begun to reveal how the virus wreaks havoc in multiple organs and tissues.
Illustration showing the bodily systems affected by Long COVID
Infographic: Bodily Systems Affected by Long COVID
Sruthi S. Balakrishnan | Sep 1, 2021
Symptoms documented in cases of long COVID are wide ranging and variable.