A startling discovery by scientists at the Carnegie Institution puts a new twist on photosynthesis, arguably the most important biological process on Earth. Two studies suggest that certain widespread marine microorganisms have evolved a way to break the rules of normal photosynthesis—they can harvest solar energy without a net release of oxygen or uptake of carbon dioxide.

Genes of a tiny, single-celled green alga called Chlamydomonas reinhardtii may contain scores more data about the common ancestry of plants and animals than the richest paleontological dig. This work is described in an article in the October 12, 2007, issue of Science.

A team, led by researchers at the Carnegie Institution, has found a key biochemical cycle that suppresses the immune response, thereby allowing cancer cells to multiply unabated. The research shows how the biomolecules responsible for healthy T-cells, the body’s first defenders against hostile invaders, are quashed, permitting the invading cancer to spread. The same cycle could also be involved in autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis