Genetic tricks of the longest-lived animals

Some species live unexpectedly long lives. By studying how they do it, researchers hope to pinpoint factors affecting human longevity.

Bob Holmes • knowable
May 4, 2021 ~16 min

The weird biology of asexual lizards

Some lizard species do without males altogether. Scientists are studying these all-female species to see what they might reveal about the pros and cons of sex.

Geoffrey Giller • knowable
March 23, 2021 ~12 min

Coronavirus evolving: How mutations arise and new variants emerge

COMIC: As it spreads throughout the world, the virus that causes Covid-19 has been changing. Scientists are tracking those changes, hoping to stay one step ahead of worrisome strains.

Diana Kwon and Maki Naro • knowable
Feb. 23, 2021 ~1 min

It’s not just the germs — it’s also the genes

Pathogens can make us sick. Just how sick depends on genetic variations, including ones that sabotage immune molecules called interferons. A better understanding could lead to new treatments for Covid-19 and other scourges.

Eric Toner • knowable
Nov. 3, 2020 ~13 min

Matching meals to metabolism

Genes, microbes and other factors govern how each person’s body processes nutrients. Understanding the connections could help optimize diets — and health.

Jyoti Madhusoodanan • knowable
July 28, 2020 ~11 min

How viruses evolve

Pathogens that switch to a new host species have some adapting to do. How does that affect the course of a pandemic like Covid-19?

Bob Holmes • knowable
July 16, 2020 ~18 min

From tiger scat to DNA to — hopefully — survival

Researchers dig out the elusive cats’ genetic material where they can, to guide efforts at conservation and diversity

Amber Dance • knowable
Sept. 17, 2019 ~13 min

A world in a bottle of water

Revolutionary techniques using traces of environmental DNA are analyzing entire ecosystems “from microbes to whales”

Rodrigo Pérez Ortega • knowable
Aug. 2, 2019 ~14 min

What does it look like to “turn on” a gene?

Only recently have scientists directly witnessed this most pivotal of events in biology, thanks to new technology that allows them to observe the process in living cells. It’s teaching them a lot.

Alla Katsnelson • knowable
April 26, 2019 ~12 min

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