In Science this week, three groups review advances in crystallography during the 100 years since German physicist Max von Laue first reported X-ray diffraction from a crystal. The first looks at progress made in the study of single crystals from non-biological sources, touching on how the ability to study such crystals at increasingly higher pressures and lower temperatures has enabled the characterization of a broader range of samples. The second review focuses on crystallography of biological molecules, and the third discusses challenges facing the capture of crystals’ atomic motions in real-time.
Also in Science, a duo from the University of Washington and Baylor College of Medicine discuss in a Perspective article new research that is bringing together molecular biology and evolutionary biology by demonstrating sources of heritable variation beyond DNA and showing that mutations may not always be gradual and random. "[T]hese domains are beginning to converge in laboratories addressing molecular mechanisms that explain how evolutionary processes work, and bring these processes to bear on medical problems such as cancer and infectious disease," the two write. "Each discipline can be viewed as a missing link in the other's description of biology, and in medicine."