Nature

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A bacterium that dwells deep underground, living off chemical reactions triggered by radioactive decay, has been doing so unchanged for millions of years, new research has found. A genetic analysis of microbes of the species Candidatus Desulforudis audaxviator (CDA) collected from three different continents has revealed that the bacterium has barely evolved since they were last
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Earth’s transition to permanently hosting an oxygenated atmosphere was a halting process that took 100 million years longer than previously believed, according to a new study. When Earth first formed 4.5 billion years ago, the atmosphere contained almost no oxygen. But 2.43 billion years ago, something happened: Oxygen levels started rising, then falling, accompanied by massive
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The mesmerizing red algal species Phymatolithon calcareum clumps together to form habitats called maerl beds in coastal regions across the northeast Atlantic, but researchers have discovered a pocket of the algae near Cornwall in the UK that’s genetically distinct from the rest of the region. It’s been dubbed ‘falgae‘, likely because of its location in the
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Could humans ever evolve venom? It’s highly unlikely that people will join rattlesnakes and platypuses among the ranks of venomous animals, but new research reveals that humans do have the tool kit to produce venom – in fact, all reptiles and mammals do. This collection of flexible genes, particularly associated with the salivary glands in humans, explains how venom
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In a new first for genetic engineering, scientists have developed a single-celled synthetic organism that grows and divides much like a normal cell, mimicking aspects of the cell division cycle that underlies and generates healthy living cellular life. The achievement, demonstrated in an engineered unicellular bacteria-like life form called JCVI-syn3A, is the result of decades
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Bloodsucking insects, trapped in amber for millions of years, extracted for their blood-filled bellies, with the blood analyzed for ancient DNA. At first glance, the scientific explanation for the revival of dinosaurs in Jurassic Park doesn’t sound too far-fetched. It was considered a genuine possibility at the time the book was written. There’s just one problem –
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Back when mega wombats, sheep-sized echidnas, and marsupial lions roamed the ancient lands of Australia, there also lived a gigantic flightless bird. Known by some as the ‘demon duck of doom’, Dromornis stirtoni is described by paleontologist Trevor Worthy as an “extreme evolutionary experiment”. “It would appear these giant birds were probably what evolution produced when