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Evolution, genetics, animal behaviour, conservation

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Snake disease turns up in Europe

A deadly fungus that causes skin lesions in snakes has been detected in wild European species for the first time.

Whalecochlea article

Early whales listened like their land-based ancestors

The first whales probably could not communicate underwater over long distances.

The Scientist

Was a Drop in CRISPR Firms' Stock Warranted?

Last week, a study made headlines worldwide with its claim that the CRISPR-Cas9 genome-editing technique is more error prone than expected. In response, some investors chose to sell their shares in CRISPR-based biotech firms and stock values dipped by up to 15 percent for some companies.

But do the findings in the latest CRISPR report justify all this panic?


Why some drug-resistant bacteria thrive in hospitals

Adaptations to terrestrial life could be the key to their success.


Early farmers bred with hunter-gatherers

Ancient human DNA suggests that the first farmers moved across Europe and closely integrated with hunter-gatherers.


Wheat genome surrenders its genetic secrets

Scientists have built the most accurate wheat genome map yet, and discovered thousands of new genes.

Caterpillarplastic article

This caterpillar can digest plastic

Wax-moth larvae could inspire biotechnological methods for degrading plastic.

Klance edna 310 article
The Scientist

No Place to Hide

Environmental DNA is tracking down difficult-to-detect species, from rock snot in the U.S. to cave salamanders in Croatia.

Cuttlefishrh article

Cuttlefish change skin texture to blend in

The masters of marine masquerade can morph from rough to smooth in less than a second.


Illegal bushmeat trade threatens human health and great apes

Great apes and other wildlife are hunted and eaten as bushmeat across Central Africa, threatening dwindling populations and spreading disease, such as Ebola.

P04xk9hy article

How the Tasmanian devil has responded to infectious cancers

The name "Tasmanian devil" may bring up images of cartoon tornados and scattered debris. The Warner Brothers character Taz was portrayed as dim-witted, destructive and wacky. But real Tasmanian devils are anything but.

Tasmanian devil populations have been decimated by a contagious cancer for decades, but they are finally showing signs of fighting back.

The Scientist

Does Farming Drive Fish Disease?

Intensive aquaculture favors increasingly virulent forms of certain fish-infecting parasites and pathogens, studies show.


River piracy may rise thanks to climate change

Meltwater from one of Canada’s largest glaciers has been abruptly re-routed to flow southward instead of to the north, thanks to climate change.


Evolution: Beetles repeatedly evolved mimicry

Over the course of many millions of years, members of one beetle family have evolved to impersonate army ants at least a dozen separate times, adding to evidence that evolution is more predictable than once thought.

Plantfossil article

Evolution: Oldest plant fossils found

The first plants lived on Earth some 400 million years earlier than the fossil record suggested.

Fossils of the earliest multicellular algae — which are closely related to the ancestors of modern plants — are rare and, until now, the most ancient specimen was around 1.2 billion years old.