Check out every single kind of microbe in your body online — all 5…

The initial phase of the Human Microbiome Project has come to an end — and with it, the mapping of the full community of microbes that inhabit all the various nooks and crannies of the healthy human body. The results of the exhaustive study will be published as a collection in PLoS, making their findings available to… » 6/14/12 11:40am 6/14/12 11:40am

The three main problems with sexual reproduction, as explained by…

Over at PLoS Biology, biologist Denis Roze has a fascinating article introducing a question that may at first seem obvious, but is in fact one of the enduring mysteries of biology: Why bother to have sex? People interested in evolutionary biology may already be familiar with the reasons why sexual intercourse is an… » 5/23/12 11:45am 5/23/12 11:45am

Why does it cost $20,000 a year to subscribe to a science journal?

If you've ever wanted to read more about a science article here on io9, and clicked through to the original journal article to read more, chances are you've been met by a subscription page (like the one up top) that asks you to either log in or fork over a grip of cash to read the article in full. » 9/21/11 6:20am 9/21/11 6:20am

What happened when Oliver Sacks started to hallucinate

Over at NeuroTribes, a new blog in the just-born science blog network at PLoS (it's one for your feed reader), Steve Silberman has an exclusive interview with celebrated neuroscientist Oliver Sacks. For the first time, Sacks is speaking out about the illness that nearly cost him his eyesight - a topic that he treats… » 9/01/10 2:00pm 9/01/10 2:00pm

Fungus Could Be Among Fastest Lifeforms on Earth

Slow-growing fungus may be one of the fastest lifeforms on Earth — at least when it comes time to spread its seeds. A group of scientists recently used ultra-high-speed cameras to record spores being shot out of fungi (pictured). Some of them were launched out of the fungi at 55 mph, zooming several feet before… » 9/22/08 7:00am 9/22/08 7:00am

Europeans Pick Mates By Smell More Often than Africans Do

Scientists have known for a while that humans seem to pick mates partly based on the way they smell. That's because a person's smell is related to their Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC), a cluster of genes that shape a person's immune system. For years, scientists have debated whether people pick mates based on… » 9/12/08 3:20pm 9/12/08 3:20pm

Scientists Identify Genes that Could Turn Ordinary People into…

Click to view It's clear that there's a specific set of genes responsible for brain development when you're in the womb, and that those genes affect your ability to learn later on. But now a group of researchers in the U.S. and Canada have identified those genes. And their discovery could represent the first step in… » 7/06/08 4:00pm 7/06/08 4:00pm

Life Expectancy Going Down in the United States

In some parts of the United States, medicine has not improved the average life expectancy — and in fact, the average lifespan has been going steadily downward since the 1980s. No, immigration is not to blame for these shifting numbers. These are U.S. citizens in hundreds of different counties whose lives are getting… » 4/23/08 3:56pm 4/23/08 3:56pm

Will We Drug Soldiers to Make Them Depressed?

Will soldiers of the future be given serotonin depressors to make them depressed and therefore fearless? A new study released Friday shows that people with a low level of serotonin do not "reflexively avoid" bad situations, and are more likely to explore risky and dangerous places. This is a sorry state in everyday… » 2/04/08 7:30am 2/04/08 7:30am

Geneticists Discover a Way to Extend Lifespans to 800 Years

There is now a way to extend the lifespan of organisms so that humans could conceivably live to be 800 years old. In an amazing development, scientists at the University of Southern California have announced that they've extended the lifespan of yeast bacteria tenfold — and the recipe they used to do it might easily… » 1/16/08 1:30pm 1/16/08 1:30pm