• On Discovering Life

    March 14, 2011

    Two separate quests, one to discover habitable worlds, the other to synthesize artificial organisms, now unite to redefine “life” and its place in the universe.

  • Wild Animal Sex

    January 26, 2011

    New research in birds, reptiles, and insects is redefining “normal” sexual behavior, revealing that gender-bending, promiscuous, and dangerous sex isn’t limited to humans.

  • Death for “Arsenic-Based Life”?

    December 07, 2010

    A hotly anticipated announcement last week from NASA that scientists had discovered an exotic form of life ended up revealing more about science journalism than astrobiology.

  • Knowing Sooner

    December 06, 2010

    Our world is an uncertain place where biological systems and financial markets can collapse in an instant. Powerful predictive models fueled by smarter data sets are the tools that will allow us to know sooner and adapt more quickly to the problems that define our complex age.

  • Agriculture in the Wild

    November 10, 2010

    Humans aren’t the only creatures that grow their own food. Leaf-cutter ants, trees, and even protists do it too.

  • 600 Million Years of Jet Lag

    October 13, 2010

    Although the common ancestor of sea anemones and humans would look nothing like us, it still shares one of our basic traits: the capacity to experience jet lag.

  • The Forgotten Domain

    September 29, 2010

    New research shows the importance of Archaea, one of three domains into which all living things are classified, for understanding all of biology.

  • Sniffing Out ET

    September 01, 2010

    The discovery of potentially habitable planets beyond our solar system is imminent. But no one really knows when we might learn whether any of those distant worlds are inhabited.

  • Deconstructing Death

    August 31, 2010

    Why are we so bad at caring for the dying? In Final Exam, surgeon Pauline Chen reveals a complex array of reasons, from the training of young physicians to a culture that believes a cure is the only goal.

  • Projectile Pooping

    August 25, 2010

    When it comes to eliminating wastes, some animals are overachievers. Silver-spotted skipper caterpillars and Adelie penguins both can fling poo to startling lengths. But how, and why?

  • Tiny Viruses, Big Controversy

    August 11, 2010

    A recent dispute over the active mechanism for adamantanes, antiviral drugs that combat influenza, sheds light on the difficulties of designing effective antiviral therapies.

  • Yawning Together

    July 28, 2010

    Why do we yawn, and why is yawning contagious even across species? Studies are beginning to explain, but the results aren’t yet conclusive.

  • The Evolution of Cooperation

    July 14, 2010

    Insects that survive on plant sap alone offer insights into the likely origin and evolution of all multicellular life.

  • Slippery Cellularities

    June 21, 2010

    Synthetic biology can mean reconstructing organisms, redesigning biology, or recreating life—and each of these uses has different implications.

  • Spineless But Deadly

    June 02, 2010

    New research reveals the origins of “mystery blobs,” the feeding habits of carnivorous sponges, and the lethal lifecycle of a jelly fungus.

  • The Meaning of Life

    May 24, 2010

    Last week, biologist J. Craig Venter crossed a momentous threshold—creating a living organism with no ancestor. In 2007, Carl Zimmer gave Seed this provocative look at the difficulties inherent in defining "life."

  • To Cheat or Not To Cheat?

    April 28, 2010

    Across the animal kingdom, the decision of whether or not to be faithful to a mate often comes down to Darwinian considerations.

  • Drosophila, We Hardly Knew Ye

    April 21, 2010

    A proposal to change the formal name of Drosophila melanogaster, the common fruit fly, has significant implications for research in the life sciences.

  • The Living City

    July 01, 2007

    In some ways, cities are like elephants: they get more economical with size. But as scientists apply metabolism to the metropolis, they are uncovering the surprising paradoxes of urban growth.

Now on

  • Ideas

    I Tried Almost Everything Else

    John Rinn, snowboarder, skateboarder, and “genomic origamist,” on why we should dumpster-dive in our genomes and the inspiration of a middle-distance runner.

  • Ideas

    Going, Going, Gone

    The second most common element in the universe is increasingly rare on Earth—except, for now, in America.

  • Ideas

    Earth-like Planets Aren’t Rare

    Renowned planetary scientist James Kasting on the odds of finding another Earth-like planet and the power of science fiction.

The Seed Salon

Video: conversations with leading scientists and thinkers on fundamental issues and ideas at the edge of science and culture.

Are We Beyond the Two Cultures?

Video: Seed revisits the questions C.P. Snow raised about science and the humanities 50 years by asking six great thinkers, Where are we now?

Saved by Science

Audio slideshow: Justine Cooper's large-format photographs of the collections behind the walls of the American Museum of Natural History.

The Universe in 2009

In 2009, we are celebrating curiosity and creativity with a dynamic look at the very best ideas that give us reason for optimism.

Revolutionary Minds
The Interpreters

In this installment of Revolutionary Minds, five people who use the new tools of science to educate, illuminate, and engage.

The Seed Design Series

Leading scientists, designers, and architects on ideas like the personal genome, brain visualization, generative architecture, and collective design.

The Seed State of Science

Seed examines the radical changes within science itself by assessing the evolving role of scientists and the shifting dimensions of scientific practice.

A Place for Science

On the trail of the haunts, homes, and posts of knowledge, from the laboratory to the field.


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