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Loss of smell, confusion, strokes: Does Covid-19 target the nervous system?

Reports of patients with neurological symptoms have emerged during the pandemic. Scientists don’t yet know whether these are a direct effect of the virus or part of the body’s response to infection.

The single-cell life

Three ways that studying cells individually — instead of by the thousands — is revolutionizing our understanding of biology

How disease sleuths are using genomics to track the coronavirus

Rapid sequencing of viral genomes can help public health officials figure out the origins, spread and nature of quickly moving epidemics

Infectious disease: Making — and breaking — the animal connection

We know pathogens from other species can endanger us. Scientists are better equipped than ever to do something about it, but political buy-in is crucial.

Inside the fertility clinic for frogs | Things to Know

VIDEO: How scientists are using assisted reproduction technology to help amphibian species in trouble

The silence of the owls

No one knows exactly how the nocturnal hunters manage their whisper-soft flight, yet it is inspiring the design of quieter airplanes, fans and wind turbines

An old problem: How immune responses weaken with age

The body’s defenses lose flexibility and diversity over time, and protective responses to vaccines weaken as well. Scientists are working on ways to boost seniors’ protections against influenza, the novel coronavirus and other pathogens.

Beat of life: Understanding the cell’s rhythms

VIDEO: Many cellular processes are guided by fluctuations of molecules, from circadian clocks to the feat of precisely dividing into two daughter cells

What do genes do? | Things to Know

VIDEO: Scientists have captured live video of parts of the most fundamental event in biology — cells reading and copying DNA instructions to make proteins

New projects broaden the search for alien signals from space

A longer list of Earth-like planets, eavesdropping on radio waves and looking for laser light shows: All raise the chances of detecting E.T.

How humans shift fish evolution | Things to Know

VIDEO: By targeting larger individuals, intense fishing may lead to a fishery dominated by the small

Animal Weapons | Things to Know

VIDEO: How an evolutionary “arms race” leads to flashy horns, pincers and more across the animal kingdom

Locusts and Grasshoppers | Things to Know

VIDEO: What’s the difference between these two insects? And what triggers a swarm? 

Bent into shape: The rules of tree form

How do trees find their sense of direction as they grow? Researchers are getting to the root — and the branches — of how the grandest of plants develop.

How does the embryo make all its parts at just the right moments?

FIVE BIG QUESTIONS: If events weren’t properly timed, pandemonium would ensue. Researchers are ferreting out the internal clocks that control developmental sequence and scheduling.

Will we ever fully know how a body gets built?

FIVE BIG QUESTIONS: Research has yielded a parts list of the genes and cell types involved in development. Now it’s time for the computationally intensive task of figuring out how they interact to form a living being. 

How do body parts grow to their right sizes?

FIVE BIG QUESTIONS: Some cells seem to know what to do. Others apparently take their cues from outside. But really, “We don’t get it.”

How do bodies map out left and right?

FIVE BIG QUESTIONS: Early in development, an embryo must “break symmetry” to position organs and other parts correctly.