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Articles on Molecular biology

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David Julius, one of the two recipients of the 2021 medicine Nobel Prize, used the active component in chile peppers to study how the brain senses heat. Anton Eine/EyeEm via Getty Images

The 2021 Nobel Prize for medicine helps unravel mysteries about how the body senses temperature and pressure

The joint award recognizes the long road to deciphering the biology behind the brain’s ability to sense its surroundings – work that paves the way for a number of medical and biological breakthroughs.
Researchers have grown mammal embryos later into development than ever before in an artificial womb. Vitalii Kyryk/WikimediaCommons

Lab–grown embryos and human–monkey hybrids: Medical marvels or ethical missteps?

Researchers have grown the first human-monkey hybrid embryos as well as mouse embryos in artificial wombs late into development. These biomedical breakthroughs raise different ethical quandaries.
When they suck your blood they can leave behind the parasite that causes sleeping sickness. Patrick Robert/Sygma via Getty Images

Bloodthirsty tsetse flies nurse their young, one live birth at a time – understanding this unusual strategy could help fight the disease they spread

This insect’s unique reproductive biology could lead to new ways to control the species in the environment – and prevent the deadly sleeping sickness it spreads to people.
Researchers Jason McLellan (left) and Daniel Wrapp study the structure of the 2019-nCoV coronavirus. Vivian Abagiu/Univ. of Texas at Austin

Revealed: the protein ‘spike’ that lets the 2019-nCoV coronavirus pierce and invade human cells

US researchers have revealed the molecular ‘key’ that allows the 2019-nCoV virus to gain access to our cells. And they found it is many times more tenacious than the previous SARS virus.
Revolutionary technologies like CRISPR are founded on discoveries uncovered through basic research that attracts very little attention. United Soybean Board/flickr

New study confirms what scientists already know: basic research is under-valued

On average, important new lab techniques like CRISPR take 23 years to develop – but there is a public expectation that scientific breakthroughs occur quickly and efficiently.
A coral reef in Chagos, British Indian Ocean Territory, experiencing catastrophic bleaching in 2015. Anderson B. Mayfield

Are reef corals stressed or just pessimistic?

A coral biologist sampled corals from the most remote reaches of the Indo-Pacific and discovered that all of them show signs of stress.
Watching bacteria and viruses duke it out, evolving to outwit each other. UC San Diego

Discovery of a surprise multitasking gene helps explain how new functions and features evolve

A core idea in molecular biology is that one gene codes for one protein. Now biologists have found an example of a gene that yields two forms of a protein – enabling it to evolve new functionality.

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