DNA

Resurrecting the Sublime recreates the scent of Hibiscadelphus wilderianus, which went extinct in 1912.

What Do These Extinct Plants Smell Like?

A multidisciplinary collaboration resurrects three types of flora lost due to 20th-century colonialism

Grizzly bears in coastal British Columbia are more closely linked to Indigenous groups than previously realized.

Grizzly Bear Territories in Canada Match Maps of Indigenous Language Families

DNA analysis shows a distinct relationship between three distinct groups of grizzlies and Indigenous populations with different languages

Male acorn woodpeckers, like the one on the left, have more offspring over their lives when they’re polygamous, according to new research.

Smithsonian Voices

Polygamy Helps Male Acorn Woodpeckers Thrive

The findings of a new study could help scientists learn more about how social behaviors evolved in other animals

The study's authors argue that the individual may have been highly regarded due to their nonbinary status or “because they already had a distinctive or secured position in the community for other reasons; for example, by belonging to a relatively wealthy and well-connected family.”

New Research

Mysterious Iron Age Burial May Hold Remains of Elite Nonbinary Person

The Finnish grave's occupant likely had Klinefelter syndrome, meaning they were born with an extra copy of the X chromosome

A new article suggests that cats have been underutilized in studies of genetic disease and that studying their genomes, which are structured similarly to humans', could yield new treatments.

New Research

Human Genomes Are Surprisingly Cat-Like

Cat genomes are more similar to ours than those of mice and dogs, yet researchers say felines are underutilized in genetic studies of disease

From the air samples, the research team was able to identify 17 species of animals that lived within the zoo enclosures or roamed around it, such as deer and hedgehogs. Pictured here is a binturong (Arctictis binturong) and was one of the mammals detected using this method.

Researchers Vacuum DNA From the Air to See What Animals Are Near

The method may help scientists survey animals in various ecosystems to inform conservation efforts

This is the 93-year-old Xerces blue butterfly specimen that researchers collected tissue samples from for this study.

New Research

This Butterfly Is the First U.S. Insect to Be Wiped Out by Humans

Genetic tests using museum specimens suggest that the Xerces blue was a distinct species and that it disappeared in 1941

DNA from the skin of this mummified sheep leg allowed researchers to study sheep husbandry practices in ancient Iran.

Researchers Recover DNA From 1,600-Year-Old, Naturally Mummified Sheep Leg

The molecules offer insights on ancient farming practices near the Chehrabad salt mine in Iran

Cher Ami, April 1918–June 1919

Smithsonian Voices

Solving a 100-Year-Old Mystery About the Brave Pigeon Cher Ami

Science determines the most famous pigeon in World War I history was not a female, but a cock bird

The Maple Fire photographed burning up Jefferson Ridge in Olympic National Forest, Washington. In court documents, prosecutors alleged that men convicted of illegal logging in the National Forest may have started the Maple Fire.

Innovation for Good

For the First Time, Tree DNA Was Used to Convict Lumber Thieves in Federal Investigation

Genetic evidence showed that two men illegally chopped down and sold valuable bigleaf maple trees inside Olympic National Forest

Presumed self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci, circa 1512, red chalk on paper

Art Meets Science

Historians Identify 14 Living Relatives of Leonardo da Vinci

An ongoing effort to trace the artist's male lineage may help researchers sequence his genome

Chris Meyer, a marine invertebrate zoologist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, dives around French Polynesia with equipment used to track coral reef health.

Future of Conservation

Meet the Reef Expert Collecting Environmental Time Capsules

Collecting DNA in waters worldwide can help scientists figure out which places are the most important for conservation

CRISPR allows scientists to cut and insert small slices of DNA with precision, illustrated here.

Innovation for Good

Early Study Shows Promise of CRISPR Injection to Treat Rare Disease

Three people who received a high dose of the gene editing tool in a clinical study saw significant improvement in their condition

The newly deciphered genome, T2T-CHM13, added 200 million base pairs to the 2013 version of the human genome and found 115 new genes.

Scientists Are on the Cusp of Finally Deciphering the Entire Human Genome

After 20 years of work, the pursuit is nearly complete, but the team still has to sequence a Y chromosome

The older man, who died when he was in his 50s, succumbed to an injury likely sustained during a Viking raid. The second, who was in his 20s when he died, was targeted in the St. Brice's Day massacre of 1002.

Cool Finds

Viking-Era Relatives Who Died on Opposite Sides of the Sea Reunited at Last

Either half-brothers or a nephew and uncle, one died after taking part in a raid, while the other was the victim of an English massacre

Passengers ride the New York City subway on May 24, 2021.

New Research

Thousands of Unknown Microbes Found in Subways Around the World

A team of more than 900 scientists and volunteers swabbed the surfaces of 60 public transit systems

Coral reef health is an important indicator of the ocean’s well-being. Scientists can study corals to learn more about how climate change is affecting the oceans.

Smithsonian Voices

DNA Makes Waves in the Fight to Save Coral Reefs

This emerging technique could help scientists understand and anticipate the threats coral reefs face

Oxitec placed six hexagonal boxes of mosquitoes on private properties in the Florida Keys.

Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Take Flight to Fight Invasive Species in Florida

Invasive Aedes aegypti mosquitoes can carry disease, so Oxitec’s modified strain is designed to reduce their numbers

This facial reconstruction envisions what HMS Erebus engineer John Gregory may have looked like.

Descendant's DNA Helps Identify Remains of Doomed Franklin Expedition Engineer

New research marks the first time scholars have confirmed the identity of bones associated with the fateful Arctic voyage

“We used five isotope methods in all to provide information on geology, coastal proximity, climate and diet,” says study co-author Richard Madgwick, an osteoarchaeologist at Cardiff University.

New Research

Ethnically Diverse Crew of Henry VIII's Flagship Hailed From Iberia, North Africa

New multi-isotope analysis illuminates early lives of sailors stationed on the Tudor "Mary Rose," including three born outside of Britain