nature

Time Travel in a Test Tube

January 10, 2012

In books and movies, time travel is typically fraught with negative consequences. Any attempt to change the past — say, stopping the JFK assassination, or taking your mom to the Enchantment Under the Sea dance — is bound to produce [Read more]

A Fickle Pump and its Protons

September 26, 2011

Like a basement in a flood plain, a cell needs a good pump. Cells must maintain a particular mix of ions inside their membrane walls, with low concentrations of sodium and high concentrations of potassium. The only problem is that cells are leaky, [Read more]

When Smaller is Better for GWAS

August 2, 2011

As of July 2010, nearly 600 genome-wide association studies of 150 distinct diseases and traits had been published. They revealed hundred of specific genomic locations, each with a relatively small effect. There were more than 40 genetic variants, [Read more]

The Flaws That Made Us Complex

May 19, 2011

One common misconception about evolution is that it produces “better” organisms with time – a seductive opinion to humans who would like to think of themselves as the pinnacle of natural selection. In a way, it’s an easy [Read more]

The Ghosts of Yellowstone

March 29, 2011

Paleontologists often deal with time scales in the hundreds of millions of years, reading the messages of fossils to learn about life on Earth long before humans arrived on the scene. But bones aren’t limited to providing insight on [Read more]

Copy Errors and Schizophrenia Genes

March 2, 2011

Here’s how genetic medicine was supposed to work. Once the basic menu of human genes was mapped by the Human Genome Project, scientists could turn their attention to gene variants associated with common diseases. These disease-associated [Read more]