A new way to block unwanted genetic transfer

We receive half of our genes from each biological parent, so there's no avoiding inheriting a blend of characteristics from both. Yet, for single-celled organisms like bacteria that reproduce by splitting into two identical ...

Bacteria reveal strong individuality when navigating a maze

Researchers from ETH Zurich demonstrate that genetically identical cells exhibit differing responses in their motility towards chemical attractants. Average values hide the full picture when it comes to describing the behavior ...

How birds become male or female, and occasionally both

The highly unusual "semi-identical" Australian twins reported last week are the result of a rare event. It's thought the brother and sister (who have identical genes from their mother but not their father) developed from ...

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 ...

Activating a new understanding of gene regulation

Regulation of gene expression—turning genes on or off, increasing or decreasing their expression—is critical for defining cell identity during development and coordinating cellular activity throughout the cell's lifetime. ...

Embryos remember the chemicals that they encounter

We all start out as a clump of identical cells. As these cells divide and multiply, they gradually take on distinct identities, acquiring the traits necessary to form, for instance, muscle tissue, bone, or nerves. A recent ...

Cells that change jobs to fight diabetes

Diabetes is characterized by persistent high blood sugar levels that occur when certain cells in the pancreas—the insulin-producing β cells—are destroyed or are no longer able to secrete insulin. Researchers at the University ...

Infrared beams show cell types in a different light

By shining highly focused infrared light on living cells, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) hope to unmask individual cell identities, and to diagnose whether ...

How adult fly testes keep from changing into ovaries

New research in flies shows how cells in adult reproductive organs maintain their sexual identity. The study, publishing online on November 13 in the Cell Press journal Developmental Cell, also identified a mutation that ...

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