Cells find their identity using a mathematically optimal strategy

Organisms are made of many types of cells arranged in a precise and reproducible spatial pattern that gives rise to properly formed and well-functioning tissues and organs. But how do genetically identical cells in an organism ...

The function of many proteins remains unclear

The DNA of every organism holds the blueprints for building all the proteins it needs for its metabolic processes. While researchers already know what the blueprints look like for most proteins, they do not know what many ...

Criticality in morphogenesis

(Phys.org) —In many regards, a brief time-lapse video can teach more about embryonic development than any amount of reading. It is hard not to be impressed how a repeatable form reliably emerges despite considerable variation ...

'Junk DNA' defines differences between humans and chimps

For years, scientists believed the vast phenotypic differences between humans and chimpanzees would be easily explained – the two species must have significantly different genetic makeups. However, when their genomes ...

Proteins enable essential enzyme to maintain its grip on DNA

Scientists have identified a family of proteins that close a critical gap in an enzyme that is essential to all life, allowing the enzyme to maintain its grip on DNA and start the activation of genes.

Developing fruit fly embryo is capable of genetic corrections

Animals have an astonishing ability to develop reliably, in spite of variable conditions during embryogenesis. New research, published in parallel this week in PLoS Biology and PLoS Computational Biology, addresses how living ...