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  • Genomes light up road to animals

    COLD SPRING HARBOR, NEW YORK—Going from one cell to many all in one organism was no easy feat. Multicellularity required molecular machinery that made it possible for cells to stick and work together. They needed to be able to talk to one another and to recognize and deter intruder cells. But the last unicellular ancestor… Read More
  • A ribonucleoprotein world

    LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK—After an evening that touched on Darwin and the evolution of fish, ants, and humans, the “Evolution: The Molecular Landscape” symposium at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory was true to its title and headed into the RNA world first thing the next morning. Or rather, the ribonucleoprotein world. Ribonucleoproteins (R… Read More
  • Missing link or not, Ida wins viewers

    After receiving the red-carpet treatment in New York City and London (Science, 29 May, p. 1124), the fossil primate known as Ida returned home to Oslo this week, where she will appear at the University of Oslo Natural History Museum starting 5 June. Meanwhile, life-size casts of Ida are already on display at the American Museum… Read More
  • Celebrating Darwin, the experimentalist

    A poster for CSHL's
    CSHL 74th Symposium and Daniel Smith
    LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK—Leave it to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory(CSHL) to put molecules center stage at Darwin’s birthday party. Home to Nobel laureates such as DNA discoverer James Watson and corn geneticist Barbara McClintock, the lab plays host this week to 390 researchers for “Evolution: The Molecular Landscape” (27 May to 1… Read More
  • The lamprey’s alternative immune system

    The sea lamprey
    The sea lamprey draws attention mainly for its alienlike appearance, particularly its oval mouth ringed with rows of sharp teeth that allow the parasitic creature to latch onto a fish host. These eel-like creatures are often called “living fossils” because they are thought to have changed little since they arose 450 million to 500 million… Read More
  • Earth’s hellish era not so bad for life

    Simulation of Earth during the Hadean era
    Four billion years ago, asteroids and comets rained down on our planet with such ferocity that scientists have labeled the era the “Hadean”—literally, hell on Earth. Yet despite these infernal conditions, early life could have survived—and may even have thrived in the warm, wet spots left in the crust by impacters—according to a n… Read More
  • Nicholas Matzke: from chat rooms to the courthouse, taking on intelligent design

    Now a Ph.D. student in evolutionary biology, Nicholas J. Matzke was a public information officer at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) back in 2005. As such, he played a key role in NCSE’s participation in the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial that pitted intelligent design (ID) proponents against supporters of evol… Read More
  • Recreating an initial step in the creation of life

    In our initial Origins essay looking at the origin of life on Earth, Carl Zimmer discussed research on how the key genetic molecule RNA may have arisen from an abiotic broth. Part of the discussion centered on the RNA work of John Sutherland of the University of Manchester in the U.K., some of which is being published today… Read More
  • Royal Society webcast: the origins of flowers

    April’s Origins essay in Science is devoted to the evolution of flowering plants and so, too, is a meeting yesterday and today at the Royal Society in London. The finale of the meeting will be an evening public lecture on 12 May, Web cast live and then available archived, by Sir Peter Crane, a former director of the Royal Botanic G… Read More
  • Tracking the HMS Beagle to its end

    A design of the HMS Beagle
    Although many historic ships are preserved in museums or at docks, the Beagle, the vessel employed for Charles Darwin’s voyage to the Galápagos Islands and around the globe, has apparently lain in a muddy grave in the east of England for the past 130 years. At a public lecture last week in London at the Royal… Read More