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Microbial secrets of sourdough

It all starts with a community teeming with yeasts and bacteria — but what’s really happening? Scientists peer into those jars on the kitchen counter to find out.

Why jobless payments serve the public good

Amid political debate over benefits during the pandemic, a researcher explains why unemployment insurance and other government measures are crucial for the economy and employees to survive troubled times

The fragile state of contact languages

These linguistic mash-ups are at high risk of extinction. The race to save them is a matter of time, with more at stake than words.

Seeking a better test for Alzheimer’s

New blood assays and brain scans are among the biomarkers revolutionizing clinical trials and changing the way researchers think of the disease. They may soon change the way patients are treated as well.

The life that springs from dead leaves in streams

A crunchy brown leaf may seem like an ending. But the food webs it supplies can be far more expansive than the ones it nourished when it was young, green and in its prime.

Getting a Covid-19 vaccine — quickly and safely

Researchers around the globe are working with unprecedented speed to find the vaccines we need to find our way through the pandemic. What’s the bar for safety and effectiveness?

Collective behavior: How animals work together

Studies of birds, fish and ants reveal the hidden ways groups coordinate movement, which might influence engineers designing drone armadas and efficient information flow

Matching meals to metabolism

Genes, microbes and other factors govern how each person’s body processes nutrients. Understanding the connections could help optimize diets — and health.

Less toy, more workhorse: Drones get functional

Airborne autonomous vehicles could soon be dropping off your Amazon packages, delivering your food and even ensuring that the infrastructure around you is safe and sound