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MRNA is an important messenger, carrying the instructions for life from DNA to the rest of the cell. ktsimage/iStock via Getty Images Plus

What is mRNA? The messenger molecule that’s been in every living cell for billions of years is the key ingredient in some COVID-19 vaccines

Recently in the spotlight for its role in the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, mRNA is not a new invention. It's a crucial messenger molecule at work every day in every cell in your body.
The colors in this microscope photo of a fruit fly brain show different types of neurons and the cells that surround them in the brain. Sarah DeGenova Ackerman

Astrocyte cells in the fruit fly brain are an on-off switch that controls when neurons can change and grow

Adaptable neurons are tied to learning and memory but also to neurological disorders. By studying fruit flies, researchers found a mechanism that controls neuroplasticity.
Tampa Bay’s sea grass meadows need sunlight to thrive. Algae blooms block that light and can be toxic to marine life. Joe Whalen Caulerpa/Tampa Bay Estuary Program via Unsplash

Water being pumped into Tampa Bay could cause a massive algae bloom, putting fragile manatee and fish habitats at risk

Harmful algae blooms are an increasing problem in Florida. Once nutrients are in the water to fuel them, little can be done to stop the growth, and the results can be devastating for marine life.
Even though people are ready to venture out and socialize, many are fearful. And some also remember those who lost their lives and want to be careful in their memory. RealPeopleGroup/Getty Images

Anxious about going out into the world? You’re not alone, but there’s help

As more people become vaccinated, many of them are eager to resume their social lives. And yet, many are fearful, and some may not want to return to life as they previously experienced it.
Researchers have long been searching for a more comprehensive way to assess national progress than GDP. erhui1979 via Getty Images

Pandemic recovery will take more than soaring growth – to fuel a more equitable economy, countries need to measure the well-being of people, too

GDP only measures economic growth – not inequality, poverty or unpaid work like elder care. So researchers in the Netherlands developed a new way for governments to see how people are actually doing.
View of the Friendship 9 students who protested against racial discrimination and were put in prison, Rock Hill, South Carolina, February 1961. Afro American Newspapers/Gado via Getty Images

‘Our ultimate choice is desegregation or disintegration’ – recovering the lost words of a jailed civil rights strategist

A long-lost letter from prison by a civil rights activist provides a window on the pivotal role protesters in South Carolina played in fighting segregation.
A COVID-19 patient in an ICU unit in a hospital in Capetown, South Africa, in December 2020. A variant emerged in South Africa that has since spread to other parts of the world. Other new variants could emerge elsewhere. Rodger Bosch/AFP via Getty Images

How worried should you be about coronavirus variants? A virologist explains his concerns

As the US vaccinates millions more people each day, the novel coronavirus works to survive. It does this by mutating. So far, several variants are worrisome. A virologist explains what they are.
Hindu devotees attend evening prayers on the banks of the Ganges River during the religious Kumbh Mela festival in Haridwar, India. Prakash Singh/AFP via Getty Images

India prepares for Kumbh Mela, world’s largest religious gathering, amid COVID-19 fears

Kumbh Mela, a Hindu pilgrimage that started earlier this month in India, has survived wars and famine since its origin. But the biggest threat has been the spread of illness – back then as now.
Finding the best tour from A through B, C and D and back to A might not be that hard, but adding a few more destinations could give you a headache. wundervisuals/E+ via Getty Images

Planning the best route with multiple destinations is hard even for supercomputers – a new approach breaks a barrier that’s stood for nearly half a century

The traveling salesperson problem is so difficult that practical solutions can never be perfect – only good enough. The challenge is coming up with the best approximations.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faces an investigation over an alleged pattern of sexually harassing and intimidating women employees. Brendan McDermid/Pool/AFP/via Getty Images

Power imbalances are at the root of sexual harassment – but statements like Andrew Cuomo’s don’t acknowledge that inconvenient fact

Men accused of sexual harassment, including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, often refer to their accomplishments in their responses. Their power is their defense, and it blinds them to their victims' suffering.

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