Tiny liquid droplets are driving a cell biology rethink

A recently recognized biophysical feature in the fluid of living cells has biologists thinking afresh about how cells carve up their space

Alla Katsnelson • knowable
Nov. 20, 2020 ~12 min


Are wildlife trade bans backfiring?

Trafficking in wild animal and plant products is driving species to extinction, but some researchers think restrictions only spur demand and make things worse

Natasha Gilbert • knowable
Nov. 13, 2020 ~19 min

living-world food-environment

Scratching away: The complexities of chronic itch

Itching has myriad causes and mechanisms, many of which remain elusive. Scientists are making headway on parsing its biological underpinnings, in hope of better treatments.

Katherine Harmon Courage • knowable
Nov. 6, 2020 ~15 min

health-disease living-world

Solo stars among the genes

From maggots’ movements to voles’ roles, sometimes single genes can have outsize effects on behavior

Emily Underwood • knowable
Oct. 22, 2020 ~14 min


The ungentle joy of spider sex

Some spiders pair puny males with gigantic females, making mating both tricky and dangerous. Why and how such mismatches evolved remains curiously enigmatic.

Emily Underwood • knowable
Oct. 22, 2020 ~16 min

entomology living-world

The blueprint for life, neatly folded

Bit by bit, biologists are deciphering the complex 3-D — and 4-D — architecture of the genome and learning how all the squeezed-together stuff of DNA keeps itself in order. What they find could lead to medical advances.

John Wenz • knowable
Oct. 12, 2020 ~18 min


The mysterious, multifaceted cerebellum

Once thought to merely coordinate movement, this region of the brain is proving to exert greater influence on cognition, emotion and other functions

Diana Kwon • knowable
Sept. 30, 2020 ~15 min

health-disease living-world the-mind

The accidental tree killers

Epidemics of forest-felling diseases are on the rise thanks to globetrotting pathogens that slip through even the best defenses. To prevent further losses, scientists are turning to high-tech surveillance and detection, even canine noses.

Stephanie Pain • knowable
Sept. 21, 2020 ~23 min

living-world food-environment

Rodents in space: Keeping bone and muscle strong on the ISS

Researchers helped mice stay mighty with an experiment to counter the effects of microgravity. The gene treatment might also enhance muscle and bone health on Earth — and in humans.

Amber Dance • knowable
Sept. 7, 2020 ~6 min

space-astronomy health-disease living-world

Making and breaking connections in the brain

The links between nerve cells, called synapses, allow us to learn and adapt, and hold clues to conditions such as autism, schizophrenia and more

Amber Dance • knowable
Aug. 18, 2020 ~14 min

qa health-disease living-world the-mind