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The body’s tiny cargo carriers

Scientists are finding that microscopic membranous bubbles called extracellular vesicles transmit messages from cells and do big jobs in many areas of biology — plus they might be useful for therapies.

What does it look like to “turn on” a gene?

Only recently have scientists directly witnessed this most pivotal of events in biology, thanks to new technology that allows them to observe the process in living cells. It’s teaching them a lot.

Nuclear goes retro — with a much greener outlook

Returning to designs abandoned in the 1970s, start-ups are developing a new kind of reactor that promises to be much safer and cleaner than current ones.

Genetics extends the long arm of the law

In an evolving branch of forensic science, genealogists help solve crimes, sometimes identifying suspects with the DNA of distant relatives they’ve never met. As cold cases yield, concerns about privacy issues persist.

Sounding out the brain

Ultrasound isn’t just for images. Sonogenetics and other promising technologies let researchers use focused sound waves to control genes and entire cells deep in the tissues of living animals, without surgery.

Reaching out to touch virtual reality

New technologies mean we won’t just see and hear digital information. We’ll also feel it.

Bypassing paralysis

By decoding brain activity with electrical implants, computers can help disabled people move a robotic arm — or their own

Truly, neurally, deeply

Scientists are developing AI systems called deep neural nets that can read medical images and detect disease — with astonishing efficiency

Scientists look to new technologies to make food safer

From romaine to snack crackers, foodborne disease outbreaks have increasingly worried the public. Cold plasma and high-pressure systems might help reduce the risks.

The dating game: When food goes bad

New technologies to predict spoilage time could slash the massive waste between farm and fork

Eyes in the sky: 5 ways drones will change agriculture

From spotting leaks to patrolling for pathogens, flying robots are taking up chores on the farm.

The unmet promise of Big Data in policing

Today’s astounding computing power offers great potential for reducing crime, but a criminologist says law enforcement has yet to find ways to fully tap it.

Humans beat robots, hands down

We can readily manipulate all kinds of objects; for them, versatility is a huge struggle. They need better mechanics — and a lot more of the intelligence that goes into handling things.

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 future of work: Will robots take my job?

Automation threatens to replace some workers but can grow overall employment. The one sure thing is that technology will change how we labor.

Take this job and . . . gig it

A few hours here, a few hours there. At home, or somewhere else. Alternative work can be a great deal or it can leave you unprotected, as management scholar Lindsey Cameron explains in a Q&A.

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.

3-D printing finds a custom foothold in manufacturing

From rocket thrusters to shoe soles, additive technologies expand their sights