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Living World

When the brain’s waste disposal system fails

Marco Sardiello explains how problems with the cell’s lysosomes lead to disease

Awesome ears: The weird world of insect hearing

Evolution made insect ears many times over, resulting in a dazzling variety of forms found in spots all over the body. Biologists are digging deep into some of those ears to figure out how and why they came to be.

If mammoth tusks could talk

Five new things we’re learning about the extinct animals and their ancient kin

A salamander’s dangerous liaisons

The giant genomes of these struggling amphibians tell a story of outsider invasions, assault by disease and cross-species sex. A geneticist explains.

Sticky science: Evolution of spiderwebs

The eight-legged weavers have been hunting insects for almost 400 million years, flaunting their long history in a rich array of architectures. Scientists are still figuring out the taxonomy of them all.

Betting on bats for genetic treasures

Bat genomes are full of clever tricks that are treats for biology and medical science — it’s why scientists want to sequence them all

Break on through: How some viruses infect the placenta

A few rare viruses can reach the fetus when pregnant women are infected, with tragic result. As explored in this Q&A, researchers are figuring out how the placenta acts as protector and how some pathogens slip through.

A long-overlooked brain region may be key to complex thought

The thalamus has traditionally been viewed just as the brain’s sensory relay station. But it may also play an important role in higher-level cognition, MIT’s Michael Halassa explains in a Q&A.

As the Arctic warms, it’s losing more than just ice

SLIDESHOW: Also at risk are the many hidden habitats built into the sea’s frozen wilds.

Resistance threatens recent success seen in battle against malaria

The disease-causing parasite is once again starting to evade front-line strategies, but scientists are preparing their next volleys

Humanizing immunology

The field has long been more mice than men. New technologies and systems-based approaches with human cells may soon fill gaps in our understanding of autoimmune disease and health, Mark Davis says in a Q&A.

The mind of an anthill

Can we use the tools of psychology to understand how colonies of social insects make decisions?

Searching for chocolate’s roots, and enemies, in Colombia’s wilderness

A newfound peace has spurred the hunt for disease-resistant wild cacao within the nation’s borders. What scientists find could help the country expand its role in the global trade.

Five mysteries about breast milk

The little that we know about breastfeeding tells us a lot — imagine if we knew more

Controlling electric signals in the body could help it heal

Tiny charges inside human cells spur development of an embryo’s form and structure. In a Q&A, Michael Levin talks about using those sparks to fix birth defects, control cancer and regrow tissues.

The self-made beauty of the centriole

Cells build an elegant, symmetrical structure. How they do it is intriguing on its own, but recent insights could also help explain some developmental disorders.

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.