Vol. 190 No. 13
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cover of December 24, 2016 issue

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More Stories from the December 24, 2016 issue

  1. Plants

    Tweaking how plants manage a crisis boosts photosynthesis

    Shortening plants’ recovery time after blasts of excessive light can boost crop growth.

  2. Humans

    Oldest alphabet identified as Hebrew

    Contested study indicates ancient Israelites developed first alphabet from Egyptian hieroglyphics.

  3. Paleontology

    Cretaceous bird find holds new color clue

    New molecular clues in 130-million-year-old bird fossil could help paleontologists firm up case for ancient color in dinosaurs.

  4. Archaeology

    For some early monks, impaired hearing amplified sounds of silence

    Middle-ear ailments probably had little impact on early Christian monks’ lives.

  5. Archaeology

    Glassmaking may have begun in Egypt, not Mesopotamia

    Ancient Mesopotamians lagged behind Egyptians as glassmakers.

  6. Health & Medicine

    Old blood carries risks for brain

    Young blood may not save the brain, by one measure at least.

  7. Archaeology

    Ancient cemetery provides peek into Philistines’ lives, health

    Burial site offers new look at Israelites’ mysterious enemies.

  8. Health & Medicine

    Low social status leads to off-kilter immune system

    Low social status tips immune system toward inflammation seen in chronic diseases, a monkey study shows.

  9. Microbes

    Cut leaves in bagged salads help Salmonella grow

    Juice from torn-up leafy greens helps Salmonella spread in bagged salads.

  10. Astronomy

    Year in review: A planet lurks around the star next door

    If people ever travel beyond the solar system, the newly discovered exoplanet around Proxima Centauri is likely to be a first stop.

  11. Genetics

    Year in review: ‘Three-parent baby’ technique raises hope and concern

    Safety and ethical concerns surround controversial mitochondrial replacement therapy.

  12. Climate

    Year in review: Sea ice loss will shake up ecosystems

    Researchers are studying the complex biological consequences of polar melting and opening Arctic passageways.

  13. Genetics

    Year in review: How humans populated the globe

    DNA studies put new twists on timing of ancient human migrations – but genetics alone are not enough to tell the full story.

  14. Life

    Year in review: ‘Minimal genome’ makes its debut

    A synthetic cell reported this year jettisons unnecessary genes and embraces human design principles.

  15. Neuroscience

    Year in review: Alzheimer’s drug may clarify disease’s origins

    Researchers will now test whether a treatment that swept away amyloid brain plaques also improves cognitive performance.

  16. Earth

    Year in review: Ozone hole officially on the mend

    Research this year confirms that the Antarctic ozone hole is healing — an international success attributed to cooperation and new technologies.

  17. Computing

    Year in review: AlphaGo scores a win for artificial intelligence

    AlphaGo’s triumph over its human opponent provides a glimpse into the future of artificial intelligence.

  18. Planetary Science

    Ice gave Pluto a heavy heart

    Sputnik Planitia, the left half of Pluto’s heart-shaped region, might have been carved out by the weight of thick layers of ice built up billions of years ago.

  19. Chemistry

    Enzyme forges carbon-silicon bonds with a little human help

    A few tweaks to an enzyme help it link carbon to silicon — a match not found in nature.

  20. Life

    Public, doctors alike confused about food allergies

    Gaps in understanding food allergies cause confusion and make it difficult to prevent, diagnose and treat them.

  21. Physics

    Despite lack of free electrons, bismuth superconducts

    Bismuth conducts electricity with no resistance at temperatures near absolute zero, despite lack of mobile electrons.

  22. Neuroscience

    Gut microbe mix may spark Parkinson’s

    Parkinson’s disease symptoms might be driven by gut microbes

  23. Physics

    Shadows of two failed searches loom over physics

    Physicists are facing two failures this year with no detections of dark matter particles and no signs of supersymmetry from the Large Hadron Collider.

  24. Science & Society

    What’s ahead for science in 2017?

    Science News writers reveal what they are watching for — and hoping for — in the year ahead.

  25. Tech

    Five challenges for self-driving cars

    Scientific and technical experts weigh in on the biggest hurdles for autonomous vehicles, and how ongoing research will help.

  26. Health & Medicine

    The Flint water crisis and other public health woes from 2016

    Drug use continued to threaten the health and safety of the American public in 2016, while a hidden menace in drinking water remained a worry in Michigan.

  27. Animals

    Tales of creatures large and small made news this year

    Scientists filled in the details of some famous evolutionary tales in 2016 — and discovered a few surprises about creatures large and small.

  28. Astronomy

    These 2016 stories could be really big — if they’re true

    These findings would have rocked the scientific world, if only the evidence were more convincing.

  29. Animals

    Skimpy sea ice linked to reindeer starvation on land

    Unseasonably scant sea ice may feed rain storms inland that lead to ice catastrophes that kill Yamal reindeer and threaten herders’ way of life.

  30. Genetics

    Epigenetic marks may help assess toxic exposure risk — someday

    Exposure to things in the environment may change chemical tags on DNA and proteins, but it’s still unclear how to use that data to assess health risks.

  31. Health & Medicine

    Penicillin allergy? Think again.

    Most people are either mislabeled with a penicillin allergy or get over it with time, and doctors don’t always think to check.

  32. Genetics

    50 years ago, alcohol use was linked to several gene variants

    50 years later, scientists are still searching for genes that influence drinking.