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As Online, Open Access, and Outreach Journal, we promote the democratization of scientific literature to foster dialogues and interest over the most recent scientific advances. Discover our mission.

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We publish short lay-summaries ("breaks") of scientific research. Our authors are scientists involved in the field of the summarized research. Our readers are academics and laypeople likewise. Learn more.


Fig trees (Ficus carica) produce furanocoumarins, a class of small organic molecules with various medicinal and agricultural applications. Villard et al. studied the enzyme catalysing the first synthetic step in the production of these molecules. They revealed how this enzyme emerged recently and independently within the Ficus lineage in a mechanism called convergent evolution.

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Fighting back antibiotic resistance: a new hope from the soil

Antibiotic resistance represents a critical threat for our health and disease treatment. New discoveries are crucial to develop further medicaments against future superbugs.

Feb 24, 2016 | 4 min read
High performance silks deployed by web building wolf spiders

Wolf spiders that build webs produce silks that perform differently than those that do not build webs, supporting hypotheses that web building and silk performance co-evolved in spiders.

Nov 12, 2018 | 4 min read
The lifetime of memories

Jun 22, 2016 | 3.5 min read
What were the ice age ‘stilt-legged’ horses of North America?

Were these extinct animals related to horses, donkeys, or zebras, or were they something else entirely? Using ancient DNA, we have finally solved this mystery.

Nov 2, 2018 | 3.5 min read
How do plants breathe?

Breathing air in and out is something that we, as humans, perform in every moment of our lives. Plants do likewise thanks to tiny mouths called stomata.

Nov 22, 2017 | 4 min read
Tiny barcodes for a global food chain

Determining the origin of the foods we eat is harder than ever in our globalized world, yet in the case of food borne illness this answer could save lives and money. By harnessing microbial spores, we developed a technique using microscopic DNA barcodes to determine the origin of objects in a way that is safe, scalable, and durable to be used in real-world settings.

Jun 7, 2021 | 4 min read