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Living World

Darwin’s finches fall prey to a blood-sucking parasite

An invasive fly could mean the loss of bird species on the Galápagos Islands. To save them, scientists may introduce another invasive insect.

A master teller of fish stories

First came fugu. Then he took a bite out of sharks. Now a pioneer in genome research helps lead the effort to sequence every lineage of vertebrates.

Labor of love

Flipping the scientific thinking on our species’ “difficult childbirth”

Marine wildlife is starting to suffocate

Global warming and agricultural runoff have driven the loss of oxygen in oceans around the world, with looming ecological consequences.

What makes a tree a tree?

Despite numerous studies and 30-plus genomes under their belts, scientists are still struggling to nail down the defining traits of these tall, long-lived, woody plants

There goes the night

Artificial lights spell darker times for much of the planet’s wildlife — but it doesn’t have to be that way

Organs grown to order

Genetic advances may make it possible to grow transplantable tissues in other species. That could solve immunity and availability issues, but raises ethical concerns.

The base of the iceberg: It’s big and teeming with life

Passing chunks of ice can fertilize ocean waters and play a role in the planet’s carbon cycle

Pathways to a cure for AIDS

Medications can control HIV, but not eliminate it. Scientists hope to one day vanquish it completely.

Tricks and traits that let insects take flight

The world’s earliest aeronauts possess a panoply of adaptations to help them navigate the skies.

Hacking the immune system

How the body’s own defense cells can be turned into tiny, programmable assassins to battle cancers and other disorders

The truth in baby teeth

Fossilized remains of children have a lot to tell us about their short lives

Microbes in the medical bag

Genetically engineered gut bacteria hold promise for safe, targeted therapies

Coffee declared healthy (for most) — yay!

A comprehensive, full-bodied analysis is brimming with encouraging data

Getting to know the gut microbiome

Researchers are finally getting the tools to understand just how the microbial communities in and on our bodies affect health. But there are many mysteries left to solve — and many technological challenges.

The photosynthesis fix

As world food needs rise, so does the need for faster, more efficient plant growth. Bypassing an error-prone enzyme is one way to do it.

The pileup of plastic debris is more than ugly ocean litter

A solid-waste specialist offers ways to halt the plague of pollutants choking the seas

The whole food diet for bees

A balanced menu makes for healthy, productive bees — but the loss of wildflowers means that many fail to find the kind of nutrition they need