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Inside The Lab


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.


Why We're All Mutants

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Why Curiosity Should Drive Our Scientific Agenda

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


Epigenetics Is Not Revolutionizing Biology

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