This Viral DNA Infects Cells by Changing From a Solid to a Liquid

Two new studies are showing that viral infections are possible owing to a remarkable biological phase transition. The research shows that viral DNA transforms from a glassy solid to a fluid-like state when the conditions for infection are just right. The new insight could result in new antiviral therapies. » 10/02/14 3:40pm 10/02/14 3:40pm

Inside the Forensic Lab That Fights Crime and Counterfeits With DNA

What you're looking at is me, being blasted by a fog machine. It's not a prop for a rave or a haunted house; it's vapor laced with custom DNA particles that could prove I was at the scene of a crime. And it's just one way a cutting-edge security firm is using life's building blocks to detect counterfeits and bust… » 9/27/14 5:29pm 9/27/14 5:29pm

You Are Alive Today Thanks to the Symbionts in Your Body

Mitochondria float around in the goo of your cells, tirelessly making the molecules that power your body. But these mitochondria used to be independent of your body; they were bacteria, floating free in the world. You are, at a fundamental level, the result of symbiosis — the interdependence of two life forms. » 9/23/14 11:27am 9/23/14 11:27am

Soviet Doctors Cured Infections With Viruses, and Soon Yours Might Too

In the Soviet Union, western antibiotics couldn't make it past the Iron Curtain. So Eastern Bloc doctors figured out how to use viruses to kill infectious bacteria. Now, with antibiotic-resistant bugs vexing doctors, that eerie yet effective method might come our way. In post-antibiotic world, infection cures you! » 6/07/14 4:51pm 6/07/14 4:51pm

Nerve cells may have evolved in animals twice

Ctenophores, also known as the "comb jellies", are an ancient phyla of animals. They have no HOX genes, at least some of which are present in every other animal except themselves and sponges. They lack many of the basic immune system adaptations common to all other animals, including sponges. » 5/27/14 10:16am 5/27/14 10:16am

New Double Helix Visualization Revises What We Know About DNA

By using an advanced microscopy technique, researchers have collected the most precise measurements to date of DNA's tangled structure. Their results showed significant variations to the well-known double helix — variations that are offering fresh insights into the inner workings of this life-bearing molecule. » 5/16/14 3:20pm 5/16/14 3:20pm

The First Lifeform Capable Of Passing Down A Juiced-Up Version Of DNA

Scientists have engineered the first living microbe that can carry and pass down an expanded genetic code to future generations — one that has six base pairs instead of the usual four. It's a breakthrough that will not only allow us to build powerful new forms of life, it's also changing what we know about evolution. » 5/08/14 8:00am 5/08/14 8:00am

Planning on Getting Your DNA Sequenced? Ask Your Questions Here!

Misha Angrist is an assistant professor at Duke who specializes in personal genomics. He deals with questions such as what having all our personal genetic information just a mailbox away means, and just who owns your genetic information. He's here today to answer all your questions about personal genetics. » 11/15/13 10:40am 11/15/13 10:40am

Scientists Can Now Genetically Modify Facial Features

This image is a CT scan of a mouse's face — but not just any mouse. Scientists at Berkeley have identified thousands of small DNA regions responsible for influencing the development of facial features — and they used this insight to modify the faces of embryonic mice. The question now is, are humans next? » 10/28/13 8:00am 10/28/13 8:00am