PNAS First Look Blog

Science journalists discuss a selection of new papers from PNAS

Banked seed replantings affected by climate change

Plants that are not able to rapidly adapt to climate change may decline and disappear from their previous habitats, prompting dramatic projects such as a doomsday vault for seeds of the world. Now researchers suggest find that seeds banked only … Continue reading

Categories: Evolution | Leave a comment

Brains missing key left-right bridge from birth compensate

The right and left halves of the brain are connected by a bridge known as the corpus callosum. When people have their corpus callosum surgically removed, it can lead to disconnection syndrome, where one half of the brain might not … Continue reading

Categories: Neuroscience | Leave a comment

Finding dark matter with gamma rays

Dark matter remains one of the greatest mysteries in the universe, an invisible substance thought to make up five-sixths of all matter in the universe. Research teams around the world are striving to discover what exactly dark matter is by … Continue reading

Categories: Physics | Leave a comment

When an increase in predator numbers can lead to an increase in prey

When numbers of predators and their prey rise and fall over time, one would expect peaks in prey abundance to precede spikes in predator abundance. Now scientists find the opposite, counter-intuitively, also can happen. Predator numbers can rise before prey … Continue reading

Categories: Applied Mathematics | Population Biology | Leave a comment

New simple theory developed of plastic deformation of metals

Scientists would like to design high-strength structural materials, but much about this work depends on laborious trial and error due to the complexity of plastic deformation — that is, how materials can deform irreversibly. Now researchers propose a unified theory … Continue reading

Categories: Applied Physical Sciences | Leave a comment

Identifying antibiotic “elicitors” with a new high throughput approach

Most clinically used antibiotics actually originate from bacteria, derived from small molecules produced by gene clusters in the microbes. Recent investigations have revealed that most bacterial gene clusters are inactive or “silent,” raising hopes that finding ways to activate them … Continue reading

Categories: Biochemistry | Chemistry | Leave a comment

Selfless decisions linked with reduced depression in teenagers

Life is dangerous as a teenager. At the same time as we’re learning to drive, we’re prone to risker behavior and more likely to make impulsive decisions than when we are children or adults. Neurologists have noticed that a small … Continue reading

Categories: Psychological and Cognitive Sciences | Tagged | Leave a comment

C. elegans synchronized swimming

When a group of nematodes gets together in any kind of liquid, they put on quite a show. Each worm waves its body rhythmically to propel itself along. But the waving isn’t all random—in a dense group of Caenorhabditis elegans, … Continue reading

Categories: Applied Physical Sciences | Biophysics and Computational Biology | Leave a comment

Detecting life on exoplanets harder than thought

Astronomers have confirmed the existence of more than 1,000 worlds outside our solar system, potentially increasing the prospects of detecting signs of life on an exoplanet. However, scientists now propose a potential source of confusion that could dampen hopes of … Continue reading

Categories: Astronomy | Leave a comment

Wasps selectively pass protective bacteria on to their offspring

Symbiotic microbes are essential for the survival of many animals and plants, but the factors promoting such partnerships remain poorly understood. Now researchers find that wasps can block which bacteria their offspring receive, helping them maintain exclusive partnerships with specific … Continue reading

Categories: Evolution | Leave a comment