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Living World

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

Cracking life’s code

We think we know DNA, but little progress has been made in understanding the evolution of how it encodes proteins

Adaptation at a snail’s pace

Island mollusks are especially vulnerable to extinction

A Notch on the many paths to cancer

Tumors and more may be fueled by an ancient protein with myriad jobs in the body. Scientists hope to tap this knowledge to generate novel therapies.

Getting it ripe

From meh to wow: The science of fruit maturation reveals new paths to better flavor