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Genetics

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Schmidtea mediterranea

DANGER DETECTOR  In planarians (Schmidtea mediterranea shown), a protein called TRPA1 detects hydrogen peroxide, a molecule produced when cells are damaged. These new results give hints about the evolution of human pain.

toddler on a sunny beach

ANCIENT TRAITS  Some people may have inherited a tendency to sunburn from Neandertals, a new study finds.

Stone Age hunter-gatherers

ANCIENT NETWORKERS  DNA from four Stone Age people — including the two shown here as they looked when excavated, top, and at the time of death, bottom — suggests that hunter-gatherers have long formed groups with few close relatives. Aside from discouraging inbreeding, that social structure encouraged cooperative ties among groups and rapid cultural advances, scientists say. 

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