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Molecular Evolution

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BARE BONES  Differences between the skeletons of modern humans (back) and Neandertals (front) may stem from the way the groups use some genes involved in bone growth. Chemical modifications of DNA may have dialed down the activity of these genes in Neandertals, leading to stocky frames. 

RISE UP  Baker’s yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, seen under a microscope, ferment fruit and grain into alcohol and make bread rise. Now researchers have taken the first step toward making a synthetic version of the organism that may perform feats regular yeast never could.

BONE OF RETENTION  Ancient DNA of unprecedented quality came from this Neandertal toe bone, leading to insights about Stone Age interbreeding and inbreeding.

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