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?

Defining Life:


What is life?

Defining life

The laws of life

The recipe for life

Living cells on the move

A new view of the tree of life

7 theories on the origins of life

Defining life in a cybernetic context

Does new physics lurk inside living matter?

Vocabulary of definitionsof life suggest a definition

Defing life: Q & A with scientist Scripps' Gerald Joyce

The definition of life: a brief history of an elusive scientific endeavor

There's no one way a microbe looks, only different clever methods to see it

He may have found the key to the origins of life. So why have few heardof him?

A current view of the tree of life, encompassing the total diversity represented by sequenced genomes


How life turned left

Evolution unleashed

Evolution, you're drunk!

Cosmos evolution of life

The spark that created life

The temperature tastes just right

Scientists seek to update evolution

Evolution favors cooperation's collapse

Computer modeling technique goes viral 

Unlocking Darwin's 'Mystery of Mysteries'

Delegating the dirty work is a key to evolution

An evolution in the understanding of evolution

Egg laying or live birth: how evolution chooses  

An Aristotelian account of minimal chemical life    

Theory of the origin, evolution, and nature of life

Ecosystems change long before a species is lost

Fluid dynamics explains ancient organism behavior

Evolution is not a one-way road towards complexity

How evolutionary principles could help save our world 

Fragile DNA enables new adaptations to evolve quickly

When physics gives evolution a leg up by breaking one 

Study proposes alternative way to explain life's complexity

Spiraling light, nanoparticles and insights into life's structure

Supercomputing transforms study of evolutionary relationships

Computer scientists suggest new spin on origins of evolvability

Evolutionary puzzle: study calls into doubt common expectations

Extinction models that account for body size prove more accurate

Scientists solve mystery piece in the origin of biological complexity

Two mutations triggered an evolutionary leap 500 million years ago

Research gives new insight into the evolution of the nervous system

Mutant champions save imperiled species from almost-certain extinction

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

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

Life's Stress on Planet Earth:

Earth's Resources

Earth's Vital Statistics

Straining Our Resources

The biomass distribution on Earth

Planet Earth Online - news from the natural world

Mathematics and biology:

Mathematics of life

Mathematics of biology

A new physics theory of life

The Mathematics of Biology

NASA teaching algorithms that recognize life

Math links ecological flash mobs and magnet physics   

Mathematicians begin to tame wild 'sunflower' problem

Persistence or extinction: through a mathematical lens

A software, a community and a different way to do science

A physicist's approach to bio;ogy brings ecological insights

Most complete simulation of a cell probes life's hidden rules

The algorithms of life - scientific computing for systems biology

Form and function unite to create the dynamic architecture of life

Before nature selects, gene networks steer a course for evolution

Computational tool offers new insight into key biological processes

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

Development of new imaging technique reveals complex protein movements in the cell membrane


The Evolution of Proteins

How to determine a protein's shape

Watching biomolecles fold and unfold

Evolutionary insights into shape-shifting proteins      

Copy of genetic makeup travels in a protein suitcase

From eons to seconds, proteins exploit the same forces

Scientists make structure analysis of protein molecules several times faster 

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

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

Cell structures:

The stormy fluid dynamics of the living cell

Cells and their genes continue to function after death

Organizing a cell's genetic material from the sidelines

Researchers read the sugary 'language' on cell surfaces

In the nucleus, genes' activities might depend on their location

Oxygen and stem cells may have reshaped early complex animals

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

A spectacular time lapse of a single cell morphing into a fully formed organism

Stem Cells:

Stem cell memory

Stem cells of worms and humans more similar than expected 

DNA, Genomes & Gene networks:

Studying biology's dark matter

The complex truth about 'junk DNA'

Boldly illuminating biology's 'dark matter"

Shedding light on the "dark matter' of the genome

How our genes reassemble themselves to get work done

Key part of human gene activation revealed by new study

Biologists discover unknown powers in mighty mitochondria

DNA may have had humbler beginnings as a nutrient carrier

In the nucleus, genes' activity might depend on their location

Quadruple-stranded DNA seen in healthy human cells for the first time

Single-molecule visualisation of DNA G-quadruplex formation in live cells 

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

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


Discovering the structure of RNA

New study brings scientists closer to the origin of RNA

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

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

Multicellular life:  

Watching a roundworm develop with a sheet of light  

What yeast reveals about the origins of multicellular life

The evolutionary-developmental origins of multicellularity  

Scientists debate the origin of cell types in the first animals

Single cells evolve large multicellular forms in just two years

Mutation that triggered multicellular life altered protein flexibility 

Solar powered sea slugs shed light on search for perpetual green energy

Study uncover how cells oorganize the growth of their structural filaments

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

Inter-cellular signalling:

New discovery in single cell signalling

Properties of developmental gene regulatory networks

Biologists rethink the logic behind cells 'molecular signals'


Ancient origin of viruses studied

Role of viruses in human evolution

Study adds to evidence that viruses are alive

Our Universe could be littered with alien viruses

DNA has four bases. Some viruses swap in a fifth

Glassy coating keeps virses happy in harsh environment

Study finds vast diversity among viruses that infect bacteria


Building codes for bacterial cities

Cracking the code for dormant bacteria

Reshaping our ideas of bacterial evolution

Bacterial clones show surprising individuality

Bacteria models track evolutionary dynamics

Understanding how plants & bacteria see light

Swarming bacteria create an 'impossible' superfluid

Cyanobacteria use micro-optics to sense light direction

Big data processing enables worldwide bacterial analysis

Baterial complexity revises ideas about 'which came first?'

Cell-bacteria mergers offer clues to how organelles evolved

Drivers of bacterial maintenance and minimal energy requirements   

Illuminating the 'inner machines' that give bacteria an energy boost

Genes necessary for cell division in modern bacterial cells identified

Bacteria's secret weapon against pesticides and antibiotics revealed 

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

Mathematical modelling disproves long-held view of bacterial cell cycle 

Commensual bacteria were critical shapers of early human populations

Bacterial ecosystems:

Evolution in real time

Evolution stuck in slime for a billion years

How evolution shapes the geometries of life

Weird life found trapped in giant underground crystals

Pilbara home to 3.5 billion-year-old bacterial ecosystems

Resolving social conflict is key to survival of bacterial communities

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


Dance of the microswimmers

The secret language of microbes  

How microbes survive in freezing conditions

First complete computer model of an organism

Close family ties keep microbial cheaters in check

Report seeks to integrate microbes into climate models

Unlocking the biochemical treasure chest within microbes

Researchers discover how microbes survive in freezing conditions

Modelling the effect of size on the aerial dispersal of microorganisms

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

Microbiologists reveal unexpected properties of methane-producing microbe

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

Microbiomes and Hologenomes: 

How microbiomes affect fear

Why it's time to map the microbiome

Should evolution treat our microbes as part of us?

'Microbial Noah's Ark' initiative should move to the nest stage

Three studies track people's microbiomes through health and disease  

Meet the 'psychobiome': the gut bacteria that may alter how you think, feel and act 

Impact on minerals, soils & water:

Biological soil crust secrets uncovered

An emerging movement ecology paradigm

Chemical ecology in retrospect and prospect

Unexpected finding shows climate change complexities in soil

Study finds missing piece of biogeochemical puzzle in aquifers

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

Ancient lightning may have provided the phosphorous necessary for life

Extreme microbes found in crystals buried 200' beneath the Sea of Japan

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

Impact on climate:

How life alters climate

In times of great famine, microalgae digest themselves    

Climate change and co-evolution: we've done the math

Life can survive on much less water than you might think

'Global Worming': earthworms contribute to climate change

Extinction of large animals could make climate change worse

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

Systems biology:

Aging out of bounds

Eating air, making fuel

Miraculous proliferation

The impact of X-rays on biological systems

Animal that survives in space has weird DNA

Operation of ancient biological clock uncovered

Complex systems: from chemistry to systems biology

Sponge genes hint at the origins of neurons and other cells

Geologists solve fossil mystery by creating 3-D 'virtual tour' through rock

Central metabolism in mammals and plants as a hub for controlling cell fate

Evolution of insects:

Life underground

How termites ventilate

The evolution of insects 

Ants and Climate Change

Dung beetles guided by the Milky Way

Biologists unlock 'black box' to underground world 

Ants more closely related to bees than to most wasps 

Chemicals that insects use to communicate and survive

How two become one: origins of a mysterious symbiosis found    

Genetic study of house dust mites demonstrates reversible evolution

Evolution of birds: 

How birds get by without external ears

Genes tell story of birdsong and human speech    

Scientiists make new discovery about bird evolution

Dinosaur egg study supports evolutionary link between birds and dinosaurs

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

Evolution of animals & mammals:

Prehistoric earbone analyzed

The history of animal evolution

Lab reveals rules for making ribs

Can you evolve while being robust?

What makes a mammal a mammal?

Kangaroo tail proves powerful 'fifth leg'

Modeling the vertebrate invasion of land

Explaining differences in rates of evolution

Brain size might put mammals at extinction risk

Earliest tetrapods may have never left the water

Walking fish reveal how our ancestors evolved onto land 

Research Scientists unlock evolutionary secret of blood vessels

Discovery of new fossils reveals key link in evolution of hind limbs

Modern genetics confirm ancient relationship between fins and hands

Early mammal varieties declined as evolution of flowering plants took off

Study details differences in gene expression among male, female mammals

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

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

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

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

Tracking interspecies transmission & evolution of an ancient retrovirus using genomes of modern mammals

Magnetic sensitivity:

The oysters that knew what time it was

Evolution of primates:

Neanderthal Neuroscience

Origins of language found in fruit fly gene    

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

Researchers discover oldest primate fossil skeleton on record

Evolution of humans:

Science of life

To throw is human 

Revised timeline of human origins

Genetic "Adam' and 'Eve' uncovered

Step forward in understanding human feet

The evolution of modern human brain shape

You may have more Neanderthal DNA than you think 

Sea squirts provide insights into gut defense evolution

Sinking teeth into the evolutionary origin of our skeleton   

Putting 'Adam' in his rightful place in evolutionary history

Lightweight skeletons of modern humans evolved recenty

Ancient DNA can both diminish and defend modern minds

A clear, molecular view of how human color vision evolved

Human genome was shaped by an evolutionary arms race with itself

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

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

Dry conditions in East Africa 500,000 years ago possibly shaped human evolution

Researchers chart epigenomics of stem cells that mimic early human development

Secrets of human protein interactions unveiled by massive sequencing and coevolution

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

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

The Anthroposphere since 50,000 years: an ecological replacement of megaherbivores by humans

Human migrations:

10,000 years on the Bering land bridge 

Highest altitude ice age human occupation

Ancient genomes show the European meta-population

The geography of recent genetic ancestry across Europe

8,000-year-old mutation key to human life at high altitudes

Using HSV-1 genome phylogenics to track past human migrations

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

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

Synthetic Biology:

Craig Ventner unveils 'synthetic life' 

Northwestern scientists create chemical brain

Revolutionary new algorithm succeeds in prolonging life

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

Researchers create synthetic cells to isolate genetic circuits

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

Researchers write languages to design synthetic living systems

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