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illustration of neurons in blue and microglia in orange
Ancient Viral DNA Helps Mouse Brains Fight Infection
Mammals that give birth to live young may have evolved to make use of the remnants of viruses in their genomes to ward off pathogens, a study suggests. 
Ancient Viral DNA Helps Mouse Brains Fight Infection
Ancient Viral DNA Helps Mouse Brains Fight Infection

Mammals that give birth to live young may have evolved to make use of the remnants of viruses in their genomes to ward off pathogens, a study suggests. 

Mammals that give birth to live young may have evolved to make use of the remnants of viruses in their genomes to ward off pathogens, a study suggests. 

retrotransposons
artistic representation of jumping gene
Jumping Genes Can Cause Movement Disorder: Study
Sophie Fessl | Sep 13, 2022 | 3 min read
Mice with overactive LINE-1 retrotransposons in their brains exhibit movement difficulties, suggesting the genetic elements may play a role in ataxia in humans. 
Illustration of a DNA virus sneaking genetic material into a host’s nucleus
Infographic: Possible Mechanisms of Gene Transfer in Eukaryotes
Christie Wilcox | Jul 5, 2022 | 10+ 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 | 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 | 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.
red defocused lights
Retrotransposon RNA Triggers NLRC4 Inflammasome Formation: Study
Rachael Moeller Gorman | Dec 10, 2021 | 4 min read
Researchers identify a sensor that sets off inflammation in the absence of infection when it detects RNA from the mobile genetic elements.
A compilation of several images, including a dog, a blind mole rat, and cell micrographs
Our Favorite Cancer Stories of 2021
Amanda Heidt | Dec 9, 2021 | 4 min read
This year revealed just how much scientists have learned about the disease, from how animals become naturally cancer-resistant to how tumor cells harness extracellular DNA to develop rapid drug resistance.
blind mole rat
Blind Mole Rats Use Junk DNA to Combat Cancer
Ruth Williams | Sep 30, 2021 | 3 min read
Activation of retrotransposons in the animals’ cancerous cells sets off an innate immune response that triggers cell death.
Mouse Moms’ Behavior Affects Pups’ Genome Structures
Abby Olena | Mar 22, 2018 | 3 min read
Mice who get less attention from their mothers have more copies of a common retrotransposon in the genomes of their hippocampal neurons.
Advancing Techniques Reveal the Brain’s Impressive Diversity
Sara B. Linker, Fred H. Gage, and Tracy A. Bedrosian | Nov 1, 2017 | 10+ min read
No two neurons are alike. What does that mean for brain function?
Infographic: Understanding Our Diverse Brain
Fred H. Gage, Tracy A. Bedrosian, and Sara B. Linker | Oct 31, 2017 | 2 min read
Recent advances in single-cell omics and other techniques are revealing variation at genomic, epigenomic, transcriptomic, and posttranscriptomic levels.
Contributors
Jenny Rood | Mar 1, 2015 | 3 min read
Meet some of the people featured in the March 2015 issue of The Scientist.
Age-Old Questions
Mary Beth Aberlin | Mar 1, 2015 | 3 min read
How do we age, and can we slow it down?
Wrangling Retrotransposons
Andrei Seluanov, Michael Van Meter, and Vera Gorbunova | Mar 1, 2015 | 8 min read
These mobile genetic elements can wreak havoc on the genome. Researchers are now trying to understand how such activity contributes to the aging process.
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