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Articles on Biology

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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.
Just 20 amino acids for chains in various combinations to create the thousands of varieties of proteins in our body. David Goodsell/ProteinDatabase

What is a protein? A biologist explains

A biologist explains where proteins come from and what role the 20,000 or so proteins in your body play in keeping you alive and kicking.
Behind the scenes, natural history museums store biological samples from the field. Ryan Stephens

Museum specimens could help fight the next pandemic – why preserving collections is crucial to future scientific discoveries

Specimen preservation means researchers don't need to reinvent the wheel each time they ask a new question, making it critical for the advancement of science. But many specimens are discarded or lost.
Getting the job done. A female Asian water dragon (Physignathus cocincinus) produced a daughter (left) without the assistance of a male. Skip Brown/Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Virgin births from parthenogenesis: How females from some species can reproduce without males

Parthenogenesis, a form of reproduction in which an egg develops into an embryo without being fertilized by sperm, might be more common than you realized.
The microbes in the mother’s gut can alter the number of neurons in the baby’s brain and the connections they make. bestdesigns/Getty Images

How a pregnant mouse’s microbes influence offspring’s brain development – new study offers clues

Microbes in the gut aren't just important for digesting your food. In pregnant women, these gut microbes are producing chemicals that are essential for proper brain development of the fetus.

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