top ten research highlights

The following highlights are the top ten most viewed research highlights on the English website of during the past month.


Ecology: Over 64% of suitable elephant habitat lost across Asia since 1700

Scientific Reports, April 28, 2023

Habitats suitable for Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) across Asia have decreased by over 64% – equating to 3.3 million square kilometres of land – since the year 1700, estimates a study published in Scientific Reports. The authors suggest that habitat loss from 1700, after centuries of relative stability, coincides with the colonial-era use of land and subsequent agricult...

doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-30650-8

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Engineering: Smelling the flowers in virtual reality

Nature Communications, May 10, 2023

A small, wearable virtual reality (VR) interface that allows users to smell several different odors — including rosemary, mojito, pancake, and durian — is reported in a Nature Communications paper. The devices can quickly and accurately generate odors in a localized area and connect wirelessly to VR worlds for an immersive and more realistic user experience. Future research...

doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-37678-4

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Ecology: Mosses maintain health and functioning of global soils

Nature Geoscience, May 2, 2023

Mosses potentially support around 6.43 gigatonnes (6.43 billion tonnes) more carbon sequestration in the soil layer than bare soil, according to a global survey of mosses presented in Nature Geoscience. The findings provide the first global-scale evidence for mosses’ important ecosystem services to global soils and highlight the need to protect these tiny plants.


doi: 10.1038/s41561-023-01170-x

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Cancer: Personalized mRNA vaccines show promise in pancreatic cancer

Nature, May 11, 2023

A personalized mRNA vaccine induces a substantial immune response and potentially delays relapse in patients with a form of pancreatic cancer called pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), when used in conjunction with other treatments, reports a study published in Nature.

PDAC is the third largest cause of cancer death in the United States and has poor survival rates, which...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-023-06063-y

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Astronomy: Lightning similarities on Jupiter and Earth

Nature Communications, May 24, 2023

Lightning initiation processes on Jupiter are found to pulsate with a similar rhythm to lightning that occurs inside clouds on Earth, according to a Nature Communications paper. The findings suggest that despite major differences in their size and structure (Jupiter is a gas giant whilst Earth is a rocky planet) some thunderstorm processes may be comparable between the two planets.


doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-38351-6

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Physiology: Ultrasound induces a hibernation-like state in mice and rats

Nature Metabolism, May 26, 2023

A reversible hibernation-like state can be induced in mice and rats using ultrasound pulses directed at the head, reports a study published in Nature Metabolism. The non-invasive approach temporarily activates nerve cells in the brain that lead to a reduction in body temperature and slow down metabolism, and could have applications in the future in medicine or potentially long-distance...

doi: 10.1038/s42255-023-00804-z

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Pharmacology: A potential antidote for death cap mushroom poisoning

Nature Communications, May 17, 2023

The US Food and Drug Administration approved diagnostic substance indocyanine green reduces the toxicity of α-amanitin, a toxin produced by the world’s most poisonous mushroom — the death cap — in human cell lines and mice, according to a Nature Communications paper. The findings suggest that this substance could present a potential antidote treatment for death ...

doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-37714-3

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First draft of a human pangenome

Nature Biotechnology, May 11, 2023

The first draft of a human pangenome reference — a collection that aims to eventually represent as many as possible of the DNA sequences found across our species — is published in Nature this week. The research combines genetic material from a population of 47 genetically diverse individuals to provide a more complete image of the human genome.

The human reference...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-023-05896-x

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Engineering: The house that diapers built

Scientific Reports, May 19, 2023

Up to eight percent of the sand in concrete and mortar used to make a single-story house could be replaced with shredded used disposable diapers without significantly diminishing their strength, according to a study published in Scientific Reports. The authors suggest that disposable diaper waste could be used as a construction material for low-cost housing in low- and middle-income co...

doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-32981-y

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Ecology: A tree map of the African continent

Nature Communications, May 3, 2023

A map of tree cover for the entire African continent, down to the level of individual tree canopies, is presented in a Nature Communications paper. The findings suggest that almost 30% of all tree cover in Africa may be outside of forests, much higher than previously expected, and could provide a reference for land management, forest restoration, and natural climate solutions. The appr...

doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-37880-4

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