Articles on Biology

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The relationship between the coronavirus and human genetics is murky. fatido/E+ via Getty Images

Your genes could determine whether the coronavirus puts you in the hospital – and we’re starting to unravel which ones matter

Researchers from Oregon Health and Science University found that variations in genes that code for parts of the cellular alarm system might play a role in how well people fight off COVID-19.
The U.S. has been scrambling to get testing for the coronavirus up to speed. AP Photo/Francois Mori

How does the coronavirus test work? 5 questions answered

A molecular biologist explains who should get tested, how the tests work and what the US government is doing to make tests available during a rapidly changing crisis.
Places where lots of animals come into contact can help pathogens move from species to species. Baloncici/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Re-creating live-animal markets in the lab lets researchers see how pathogens like coronavirus jump species

In the real world, new diseases emerge from complex environments. To learn more about how, scientists set up whole artificial ecosystems in the lab, instead of focusing on just one factor at a time.
Male pileated woodpecker. FotoRequest/Shutterstock.com

How do woodpeckers avoid brain injury?

Pecking holes in a solid wood tree trunk would give you a headache, if not serious brain damage. What special assets allow a woodpecker to do it?
The talamanca hummingbird, or admirable hummingbird, is found in Costa Rica and Panama. Milan Zygmunt/Shutterstock.com

Not all genes are necessary for survival – these species dropped extra genetic baggage

How many genes do you really need? Are there any that we can lose? Researchers are now identifying species that have streamlined their genome to adapt to a particular lifestyle.
Landscape in the Var area of France with fossilised Permian pelites (Permian Middle, 270 Ma) and “muddle cracks”.

An exoplanet within arm’s reach: the Earth

The geological and biological archives of the Earth shed light on both the distant past of our planet and allow us to imagine its future.
Under the proposed changes, TGD people in Victoria can change the gender on their birth certificate without having to undergo medical intervention. Shutterstock

Victorian changes to gender on birth certificate will not increase sexual violence. Here’s why

Proposed reforms in Victoria will not only remove barriers for many TGD people to navigate their daily lives more safely, but help to make gender categories in general less strictly defined.

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