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The PLOS Biology 12 Covers of Christmas


To celebrate 12 months of cutting-edge science we’ve decided to round up our PLOS Biology cover stars to the tune of  ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’  .

Sending warm wishes to all of our authors, editors, reviewers, and readers. Merry Christmas to all those celebrating, and Happy Holidays to everyone else!

See our full 2019 issue (December pending) here!


 A bug trapping bladderwort    

How does bladderwort make its amazing cup-shaped traps? The authors use 3D imaging and computational modeling to show that they arise using the same rules that guide the formation of leaves.



 2 Friendly Choanos     

Choanoflagellates are our closest single-celled relatives; these authors examine the differences between single-celled and multicellular species of choanoflagellate to probe the origins of complex animals.



 3 Butterfly genomes   

By examining the genome sequences of three species of Heliconius butterfly, the researchers were able to identify the genetic basis of barriers to interbreeding.



 4 Ejected flagella   

The authors find that when a type of pathogenic bacteria are starved, they save energy by ejecting their flagella and plugging the resulting hole to avoid leakage.



 5 Blue Sharks   

This study used data from baited video traps to show that distant reefs and seamounts are the last refuge of large marine predators like sharks.                  



 6 Infected gastric glands 

Fluorescently labelled Helicobacter pylori allow the authors to see how these ulcer-causing bacteria compete with each other to colonise gastric glands.       



   7 Hippocampal synapses 

The authors study pyramidal neurons in the hippocampus to establish how they manage to juggle the relative strengths of multiple incoming and outgoing synapses.



   8 Rudimentary kidneys 

By looking at the excretory mechanisms in sea anemones and two exotic xenacoelomorphs, the authors try to reconstruct the ancestor of the kidney.    



   9 Bone marrow placentas 

The researchers find that pregnancy mobilises cells from the bone marrow and recruits them to form the placenta.                                                                             



   10 Sexually selected beetle weapons 

This study reveals that the size of beetles’ jaw weapons is determined by their diet, mediated by an insulin-related peptide.                                                                         



   11 Mosquito eggshells 

This study identifies a crucial protein specifically found in the eggshell of mosquitoes, which may represent a useful target for the next generation of insecticides.



   12 (x 500) Mammals 

The authors create a comprehensive and time-calibrated family tree of nearly 6,000 species of living mammals.                                                                                          




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