Living World

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

A fine time for slime

Hagfish repel predators with fast-forming super goop. Scientists are attracted to its potential for biomaterials.

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