Biologists glean insight into repetitive protein sequences

A computational analysis reveals that many repetitive sequences are shared across proteins and are similar in species from bacteria to humans.

Anne Trafton | MIT News Office • mit
Sept. 13, 2022 ~7 min

How do ants crawl on walls? A biologist explains their sticky, spiky, gravity-defying grip

Ant feet are equipped with an array of tools – from retractable sticky pads to claws to special spines and hairs – enabling them to defy gravity and grip virtually any surface.

Deby Cassill, Associate Professor of Integrative Biology, University of South Florida • conversation
Sept. 12, 2022 ~6 min

How you can help protect sharks – and what doesn't work

Sharks are much more severely threatened by humans than vice versa. A marine biologist explains how people can help protect sharks and why some strategies are more effective than others.

David Shiffman, Post-Doctoral and Research Scholar in Marine Biology, Arizona State University • conversation
Sept. 12, 2022 ~6 min

Human skin stood up better to the sun before there were sunscreens and parasols – an anthropologist explains why

Our ancient ancestors didn’t have clothes or houses – but that constant exposure to the sun helped their skin protect itself from the worst sun damage.

Nina G. Jablonski, Evan Pugh University Professor of Anthropology, Penn State • conversation
Sept. 6, 2022 ~9 min

Analyzing the potential of AlphaFold in drug discovery

Study finds computer models that predict molecular interactions need improvement before they can help identify drug mechanisms of action.

Anne Trafton | MIT News Office • mit
Sept. 6, 2022 ~8 min

Sleeping fish? From sharks to salmon, guppies to groupers, here's how they grab a snooze

Just about every creature on Earth needs to grab some Zs from time to time. Imagine trying to doze while dodging great whites and killer whales.

Michael Heithaus, Executive Dean of the College of Arts, Sciences & Education and Professor of Biological Sciences, Florida International University • conversation
Sept. 5, 2022 ~6 min

Axolotls can regenerate their brains – these adorable salamanders are helping unlock the mysteries of brain evolution and regeneration

Axolotls are amphibians known for their ability to regrow their organs, including their brains. New research clarifies their regeneration process.

Ashley Maynard, PhD Candidate in Quantitative Developmental Biology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich • conversation
Sept. 1, 2022 ~8 min

Most human embryos naturally die after conception – restrictive abortion laws fail to take this embryo loss into account

Human embryos are far more likely to die than come to term, an evolutionary trait seen across species. Laws granting personhood at conception ignore built-in embryo loss, with potentially grave consequences.

Kathryn Kavanagh, Associate Professor of Biology, UMass Dartmouth • conversation
Sept. 1, 2022 ~10 min

Neanderthals died out 40,000 years ago, but there has never been more of their DNA on Earth

Here’s what we can learn from our closest extinct relatives.

Trine Kellberg Nielsen, Associate Professor, Department of Archeology and Heritage Studies, Aarhus University • conversation
Aug. 31, 2022 ~8 min

Microscopy technique reveals hidden nanostructures in cells and tissues

Separating densely packed molecules before imaging allows them to become visible for the first time.

Anne Trafton | MIT News Office • mit
Aug. 29, 2022 ~8 min