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Science

Essays and videos exploring physics, evolution, cosmology and other frontiers in science
What on earth is a xenobot? | Aeon
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essay

Evolution

What on earth is a xenobot?

The more we understand how cells produce shape and form, the more inadequate the idea of a genomic blueprint looks

Philip Ball

The web of life | Aeon
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essay

Evolution

The web of life

Classic evolutionary theory holds that species separate over time. But it’s fuzzier than that – now we know they also merge

Juli Berwald

An idea with bite | Aeon
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essay

Genetics

An idea with bite

The ‘selfish gene’ persists for the reason all good scientific metaphors do: it remains a sharp tool for clear thinking

J Arvid Ågren

Brains in a dish | Aeon
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essay

Human evolution

Brains in a dish

What pea-sized brain organoids reveal about consciousness, the self and our future as a species

Alysson Muotri

The science of terrible men | Aeon
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essay

Genetics

The science of terrible men

The pioneers of social genetics were racists and eugenicists: should we give up on the science they founded altogether?

Kathryn Paige Harden

The trauma tracer | Aeon
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video

Genetics

If trauma can be passed down, could new therapies blunt the transgenerational impact?

9 minutes

The genes we’re dealt | Aeon
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essay

Genetics

The genes we’re dealt

The new field of social genomics can be used by progressives to combat racial inequality or by conservatives to excuse it

Erik Parens

Choose your own birth | Aeon
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essay

Human evolution

Choose your own birth

Every human is both an animal with a deep evolutionary history and an individual who must bring their existence into being

Ada Jaarsma

Testosterone is widely, and sometimes wildly, misunderstood | Aeon
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idea

Gender

Testosterone is widely, and sometimes wildly, misunderstood

Matthew Gutmann

The viral origins of the placenta | Aeon
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video

Human evolution

In the tug-of-war between mother and baby, the placenta is a life-giving referee

4 minutes

Consider the axolotl: our great hope of regeneration? | Aeon
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idea

Biology

Consider the axolotl: our great hope of regeneration?

Scott Sayare

Is the secret to a happy marriage in your DNA? | Aeon
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video

Mood and emotion

Till genetics do us part – why the success of your marriage is encoded at birth

5 minutes

Like the emperor’s new clothes, DNA kits are a tailored illusion | Aeon
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idea

Genetics

Like the emperor’s new clothes, DNA kits are a tailored illusion

George Estreich

Dog breeds are mere Victorian confections, neither pure nor ancient | Aeon
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idea

Animals and humans

Dog breeds are mere Victorian confections, neither pure nor ancient

Michael Worboys

The right to know, or not know, the data from medical research | Aeon
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idea

Medicine

The right to know, or not know, the data from medical research

Emily Willingham

Hormones united | Aeon
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essay

Genetics

Hormones united

The hormone system works like a democracy: every tissue in the body is an endocrine organ asserting its needs and demands

Liam Drew

Wired that way: genes do shape behaviours but it’s complicated | Aeon
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idea

Genetics

Wired that way: genes do shape behaviours but it’s complicated

Kevin Mitchell

Transgenic spidergoats | Aeon
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video

Biotechnology

Spidergoats to the rescue! How to make silk from milk with genetic engineering

6 minutes

Enlightenment rationality is not enough: we need a new Romanticism | Aeon
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idea

History of science

Enlightenment rationality is not enough: we need a new Romanticism

Jim Kozubek

Haunted by history | Aeon
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essay

Genetics

Haunted by history

War, famine and persecution inflict profound changes on bodies and brains. Could these changes persist over generations?

Pam Weintraub

In to Asia | Aeon
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essay

Human evolution

In to Asia

New evidence about the ancient humans who occupied Asia is cascading in: the story of our species needs rewriting again

Christopher Bae

We are multitudes | Aeon
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essay

Human reproduction

We are multitudes

Women are chimeras, with genetic material from both their parents and children. Where does that leave individual identity?

Katherine Rowland

Even if genes affect intelligence, we can’t engineer cleverness | Aeon
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idea

Genetics

Even if genes affect intelligence, we can’t engineer cleverness

Jim Kozubek

Squid: coming to life | Aeon
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video

Biology

Pearls before squid: how a cephalopod is born, in stunning microscopy footage

5 minutes