Inside The Lab

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Why Scientists Need to Fail

As researchers think about how to improve reproducibility, it's important to remember that failure is a crucial part of the scientific process.

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Why We're All Mutants

We all carry genetic mutations, and new studies are revealing their impact.

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Researchers Turn to Big Data to Justify Basic Science

A new method of citation network analysis could be used to make the case for the importance of basic research.

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Next-Generation Prenatal Genetic Tests Are Turning Fate Into Choice

As a new non-invasive technology makes prenatal genetic tests more common, many more pregnant women will have to choose whether or not to have a disabled child.

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How Our Understanding of Neanderthals Has Dramatically—and Rapidly—Shifted

The discovery of an ancient man with a recent Neanderthal ancestor illustrates how quickly the science of Stone Age humans has changed.

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Why the Future of Drugs Is in Genetically Engineered Microbes

Though a new generation of genetically engineered microbes is raising fears about home-brew heroin, a technology de-coupled from the whims of growing seasons could also mean cheaper, legal drugs.

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How Scientific Progress Is Changing the Stem Cell Debate

The morality of human embryonic stem cell research has long been contentious, but new discoveries could end the controversy.

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Redesigning Crops for the 21st Century

The world needs to double its food supply, and scientists have proposed a major genetic engineering program to make it happen.

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Why We Should Think Twice About Giving Genetic Tests to Our Kids

Genetic tests are becoming increasingly common, but a major medical organization argues that we should be cautious about testing children.

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The Complicated Science—and Conflict—Behind Identifying the First Native Americans

Genetic studies of living Native Americans and ancient remains are revising our theories about America’s first inhabitants.

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Genes May Cause Educational Struggles for More People Than We Ever Expected

A study finds a new link between mutations and intellectual disability, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore non-genetic factors.

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How to Change the Centuries-Old Model of Academic Publishing

Academic publishing has been slow to make use of social media, but new experiments could push the industry—and science—forward.

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Why Curiosity Should Drive Our Scientific Agenda

Basic research can seem wasteful, but politicians should resist the temptation to set science’s priorities.

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Do We Need Formal Quality Standards for Science?

New guidelines proposed by the National Institutes of Health have already been rejected by several major scientific journals.

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The Debate Over GMOs Is About to Change

A new generation of biotechnology crops designed to appeal to consumers is likely to radically change the controversy over GMOs.

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The Frustrating Hunt for the Genes That Make Us Human

Researchers are finding many genes unique to our species, but so far they reveal little about our most human traits.

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Designer Babies Aren't Coming Anytime Soon

Genetically engineered babies raise a host of disturbing, science fiction-worthy ethical questions, but we have a more mundane and much more urgent issue to consider: safety.

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Epigenetics Is Not Revolutionizing Biology

But the research is helping us to accept the role that biology plays in our lives and our society.