Biological Science

The Gaia theory establishes a link between living species and the chemistry of Planet Earth. What about life beyond Earth? Will cybernetics ever lead to new life forms?

Earth's Vital Statistics    Earth's Resources    Crowding Our Planet    Straining Our Resources

Planet Earth Online - news from the natural world    The laws of life    

Mathematics and biology:

The Mathematics of Biology    Mathematics of life    

Biology meets geometry    Form and function unite to create the dynamic architecture of life    

Computational tool offers new insight into key biological processes    

Persistence or extinction: through a mathematical lens    

Not just a theory - the utility of mathematical models in evolutionary biology

A new physics theory of life    Cosmos evolution of life    Scientists seek to update evolution

Before nature selects, gene networks steer a course for evolution    

Math links ecological flash mobs and magnet physics

Proteins & protein folding:

The Evolution of Proteins   How to determine a protein's shape

Scientists make structure analysis of protein molecules several times faster  

Copy of genetic makeup travels in a protein suitcase

Watching biomolecles fold and unfold    From eons to seconds, proteins exploit the same forces

Terahertz radiation induces non-thermal structural changes associated with Frohlich condensation in a protein crystal 

Cell structures:

The in vivo structure of biological membranes and evidence for lipid domains

DNA/RNA/Gene networks/Systems biology:

DNA may have had humbler beginnings as a nutrient carrier

Evolution of the division of labor between genes and enzymes in the RNA world

25 years of DNA on a computer - a review of the computer simulations of nuclear DNA

New study brings scientists closer to the origin of RNA

RNA was capable of catalyzing electron transfer on early Earth with iron's help

Properties of developmental gene regulatory networks

Complex systems: From chemistry to systems biology

Studying Biology's Dark Matter    Boldly illuminating biology's "Dark Matter"    

Shedding light on the "dark matter" of the genome

Discovery of  second, 'hidden' code in DNA could improve disease diagnostics    

Bacteria and viruses:

Cracking the code for dormant bacteria    Big data processing enables worldwide bacterial analysis

Drivers of bacterial maintenance and minimal energy requirements

Bacteria models track evolutionary dynamics

Mathematical modelling disproves long-held view of bacterial cell cycle    

Illuminating the 'inner machines' that give bacteria an energy boost  Reshaping our ideas of bacterial evolution

Electricity-eating bacteria are real and more common than we thought 

Cyanobacteria use micro-optics to sense light direction    Understanding how plants & bacteria see light 

Bacteria's secret weapon against pesticides and antibiotics revealed

Commensual bacteria were critical shapers of early human populations

Study finds vast diversity among viruses that infect bacteria    Study adds to evidence that viruses are alive

Glassy coating keeps virses happy in harsh environment

Cellular dynamics:

New discovery in single cell signalling    Stem cell memory

Stem cells of worms and humans more similar than expected 

What yeast reveals about the origins of multicellular life   

Study uncover how cells oorganize the grpwth of their structural filaments

The evolutionary-developmental origins of multicellularity    

Mutation that triggered multicellular life altered protein flexibility    

Study shows common molecular tool kit shared by organisms across the tree of life

Cellular aging:

Operation of ancient biological clock uncovered

Aging out of bounds    Eating air, making fuel    Miraculous proliferation   

Animal that survives in space has weird DNA   

Back from the dead: scientists 'resurrect' ancient proteins to learn about primordial life on Earth

The impact of X-rays on biological systems

Bacterial ecosystems:

Pilbara home to 3.5 billion-year-old bacterial ecosystems

Evolution stuck in slime for a billion years    Weird life found trapped in giant underground crystals

Resolving social conflict is key to survival of bacterial communities

Ecosystems change long before a species is lost   Integrating ecosystems in resilience practice  

Universality of circular polarization in star and planet forming regions: implications for the origin of homochirality of life    

Evolution in real time   How evolution shapes the geometries of life

Microbes:

The secret language of microbes    How microbes survive in freezing conditions

Researchers discover how microbes survive in freezing conditions

Report seeks to integrate microbes into climate models

Close Family Ties Keep Microbial Cheaters in Check

Microbiologists reveal unexpected properties of methane-producing microbe

Microorganisms isolated in cave for 4M years helps understand the origins of antibiotic resistance

Modelling the effect of size on the aerial dispersal of microorganisms     Dance of the microswimmers

Scientiists discover organism that hasn't evolved in more than 2 billion years

First complete computer model of an organism

Impact on minerals, soils & water:

Geoscientists gradually decipher nature's playbook, discover new mineral-making secrets

Unexpected finding shows climate change complexities in soil    Biological soil crust secrets uncovered

Study finds missing piece of biogeochemical puzzle in aquifers

Eco-evolutionary dynamics in response to selection on life-history

An emerging movement ecology paradigm    Chemical ecology in retrospect and prospect

Impact on climate:

How life alters climate    Climate change and co-evolution: we've done the math

UMD finding may hold key to Gaia Theory of Earth as a living organism

Life can survive on much less water than you might think

In times of great famine, microalgae digest themselves

'Global Worming': earthworms contribute to climate change

Extinction of large animals could make climate change worse

Evolution of insects:

The evolution of insects    Chemicals that insects use to communicate and survive    

Life underground    Biologists unlock 'black box' to underground world

Genetic study of house dust mites demonstrates reversible evolution

Dung beetles guided by the Milky Way

How termites ventilate    Ants more closely related to bees than to most wasps    Ants and Climate Change

Evolution of birds: 

Genes tell story of birdsong and human speech    How birds get by without external ears

Scientiists make new discovery about bird evolution

To burn sugar or not to burn sugar: how eggs store fuel for embryo development

Dinosaur egg study supports evolutionary link between birds and dinosaurs

Evolution of animals & mammals:

Modeling the vertebrate invasion of land    Walking fish reveal how our ancestors evolved onto land

Biologists follow 'fossilizable clues' to pinpoint when mammal, bird and dinosaur ancestors became atheletes

Modern genetics confirm anacient relationship between fins and hands

Discovery of new fossils reveals key link in evolution of hind limbs    Kangaroo tail proves powerful 'fifth leg'

Theory of origin of animals challenged: animals need only extremely little oxygen

New genetic 'facilitated operating system' facilitated evolution of 'bilateral' animals

Scripps Research Scientists unlock evolutionary secret of blood vessels    Prehistoric earbone analyzed        

Breakthrough model reveals evolution of ancient nervous systems through analysis of seashell color patterns

Tracking interspecies transmission and long-term evolution of an ancient retrovirus using the genomes of modern mammals

Early mammal varieties declined as evolution of flowering plants took off

Brain size might put mammals at extinction risk

Evolution of primates:

Researchers discover oldest primate fossil skeleton on record    Neanderthal Neuroscience

What evolved first - a dexterous hand or an agile foot?

Cambrian fossil pushes back evolution of complex brains    

Fossil ankles indicate Earth's earliest primates lived in trees

Origins of language found in fruit fly gene

Evolution of humans:

Genetic "Adam' and 'Eve' uncovered    Putting 'Adam' in his rightful place in evolutionary history

Revised timeline of human origins    To throw is human    

Human genome was shaped by an evolutionary arms race with itself

Researchers chart epigenomics of stem cells that mimic early human development

Secrets of human protein interactions unveiled by massive sequencing and coevolution

Complex nerve-cell signalling traced back to common ancestor of humans and sea anenomes

New imaging technique captures vibrations of proteins, tiny motions critical to human life

Researchers 'capture' the replication of the human genome for the first time

Ancient DNA can both diminish and defend modern minds

A clear, molecular view of how human color vision evolved

Lightweight skeletons of modern humans evolved recenty

Sinking teeth into the evolutionary origin of our skeleton

New study finds evolution of brain and tooth size were not linked in humans

Highest altitude ice age human occupation    8,000-year-old mutation key to human life at high altitudes

Using HSV-1 genome phylogenics to track past human migrations

In human eveolution, changes in skin's barrier set Northern Europeans apart

Ancient genomes show the European meta-population

The geography of recent genetic ancestry across Europe

Fossils offer new clue into Native American's 'journey' and how they survived the last Ice Age

10,000 years on the Bering Land Bridge   

Why it's time to map the microbiome

General notes on evoution:  

What is life?    Defining Life   The Definition of Life: A Brief History of an Elusive Scientific Endeavor

An Aristotelian Account of Minimal Chemical Life    Defining Life in a Cybernetic Context

Delegating the dirty work is a key to evolution    Evolution favors cooperation's collapse

Theory of the Origin, Evolution, and Nature of Life

Evolution, you're drunk!    Unlocking Darwin's 'Mystery of Mysteries'

How evolutionary principles could help save our world        

Study proposes alternative way to explain life's complexity

Scientists solve mystery piece in the origin of biological complexity

Evolution is not a one-way road towards complexity

Evolutionary puzzle: study calls into doubt common expectations

Mutant champions save imperiled species from almost-certain extinction  

How life turned left    Spiraling light, nanoparticles and insights into life's structure

Computer scientists suggest new spin on origins of evolvability

Supercomputing transforms study of evolutionary relationships   Computer modeling technique goes viral  

The 'genetics of sand' may shed new light on evolutionary process over millions of years

Predicting to new environments: tools for visualizing model behaviour and impacts on mapped distributions     

The temperature tastes just right

Two mutations triggered an evolutionary leap 500 million years ago

Synthetic Biology:

'Minimal cell' raises stakes in race to harness synthetic life

Researchers write languages to design synthetic living systems

New synthesis method imitates the way molecules were formed at the dawn of life

Researchers create synthetic cells to isolate genetic circuits

Revolutionary new algorithm succeeds in prolonging life 

Northwestern scientists create chemical brain 

Craig Ventner unveils 'synthetic life' 

Crispr makes it clear: the US needs a biology strategy, and fast