The DNA of life at its limits

Scientists have unraveled the complete genome of the tomato russet mite, which is considered one of the smallest animals on our planet and known as a destructive agricultural pest. The genome is the smallest reported to date ...

Scientists discover ancient enzymes evolve new tricks

Plants, herbivores, and pathogens are locked in a war for survival that is hundreds of millions of years old. Rooted in place and with no way to run, plants evolved complex, chemical-producing machinery in their cells to ...

Finding the missing step of an important molecular process

Lysine is an important amino acid that must be supplied in our diets, as our bodies can't produce lysine on their own. Most cereal grains have low levels of lysine, and scientists have worked to breed crops with higher lysine ...

Novel major locus regulates beak evolution of ground tit

Classical quantitative genetics has found that most phenotypes are polygenic traits. Under this polygenic model, natural selection often acts on many loci simultaneously, resulting in the combination of a few loci with major ...

Analysis reveals cotton genome stability across global lineages

Come harvest time, the cotton fields look like popcorn is literally growing on plants, with fluffy white bolls bursting out of the green pods in every direction. There are 100 million families around the world whose livelihoods ...

Untangling the social lives of spiders

The idea of a complex spider society—in which thousands of spiders live, hunt, and raise their young together in a single colony—is unsettling to many of us. We are perhaps lucky then that this scene is relatively rare ...

Lessons on parasitism from the curious Dicyemida

The incredible diversity of life forms on the planet led Charles Darwin to note, "From so simple a beginning, endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved." In order to gain a true understanding ...

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