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Primitive Asgard Cells Show Life on the Brink of Complexity
As researchers race to cultivate more of the intriguing cells from the deep seafloor, the few cells now growing in labs are giving us our best glimpses of the forerunners of all complex life.
Global Microbiome Study Gives New View of Shared Health Risks
The most comprehensive survey of how we share our microbiomes suggests a new way of thinking about the risks of developing some diseases that aren’t usually considered contagious.
With Nothing to Eat Except Viruses, Some Microbes Thrive
“Virovores” — organisms that survive and multiply by eating viruses — might influence the flow of energy through ecosystems.
She Finds Keys to Ecology in Cells That Steal From Others
The ecologist Holly Moeller studies microorganisms that expand their range by absorbing organelles and gaining new metabolic talents from their prey.
Why Is Inflammation a Dangerous Necessity?
The immune system protects us from a full spectrum of pathogens, but without balance, it can end up hurting us over time, too. The immunologist Shruti Naik explains how our defenses can turn on us.
Plasmid, Virus or Other? DNA ‘Borgs’ Blur Boundaries.
Scientists have reported large DNA structures in some archaea that defy easy categorization.
RNA Brakes May Stabilize a Cellular Symbiosis
In some symbiotic partnerships, an RNA-based mechanism may sabotage the growth of greedy hosts.
The Year in Biology
While the study of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was the most urgent priority, biologists also learned more about how brains process information, how to define individuality and why sleep deprivation kills.
A Physicist’s Approach to Biology Brings Ecological Insights
The physicist Jeff Gore tests theories about microbe communities experimentally and finds new rules governing ecological stability.