top ten research highlights

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


Anthropology: The final stand of Homo erectus

Nature, December 19, 2019

Fossil remains of Homo erectus found in Central Java, Indonesia, represent the last known occurrence of this ancient human species, a Nature study reveals. The findings help to clarify the position of this early hominin species in the evolution of humans from this region of the world.

Homo erectus, the first human species to walk fully upright, evolved around two million years ago a...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1863-2

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Planetary science: A new technique results in planet haul

Nature Astronomy, December 24, 2019

The discovery of six new exoplanets orbiting three different stars is reported in three papers published in Nature Astronomy this week. The planets, identified using a new technique, range in mass from roughly 2.6 times the mass of the Earth to nearly half the mass of Jupiter, and all orbit very close to their stars.

Over the past decade, it has become clear that in other planetary ...

doi: 10.1038/s41550-019-0973-y

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Biology: Genetic ‘clock’ predicts lifespan in vertebrates

Scientific Reports, December 13, 2019

A model that uses genetic markers to accurately estimate the lifespans of different vertebrates, including extinct species, is presented in a study in Scientific Reports this week. The ‘lifespan clock’ screens 42 selected genes for CpG sites, short pieces of DNA whose density is correlated with lifespan, to predict how long members of a given vertebrate species may live.

Maximum l...

doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-54447-w

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Energy: Health and financial impacts of time-of-use energy rates raise equity concerns

Nature Energy, December 17, 2019

Products that aim to change energy usage patterns, like time-of-use tariffs, can lead to disproportionately negative financial and health impacts for some vulnerable groups, suggests a paper published this week in Nature Energy. Such demand-side response measures are gaining prominence, but can be detrimental for the many households already struggling to balance energy costs with other necessit...

doi: 10.1038/s41560-019-0507-y

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Ecology: The earliest known example of extended parental care

Nature Ecology & Evolution, December 24, 2019

The fossil of a previously unknown species of synapsid - animals which resembled modern day monitor lizards - is reported in a paper in Nature Ecology & Evolution. This specimen, around 309 million years old, includes an adult with a related juvenile positioned behind its hindlimb and encircled by its tail, suggesting that extended parental care began 40 million years earlier than previously th...

doi: 10.1038/s41559-019-1030-z

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International evaluation of an AI system for breast cancer screening

Nature, January 2, 2020

An artificial intelligence (AI) system capable of surpassing expert radiologists in the ability to detect breast cancer is reported in a paper published in Nature this week. This deep-learning model may contribute to prospective clinical trials to improve the accuracy and efficiency of breast cancer screening.

Many developed nations have implemented large-scale mammography screening p...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1799-6

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Prevention of tuberculosis in macaques after intravenous BCG immunization

Nature, January 2, 2020

Changing the dose and delivery route of the BCG vaccine improves protection against tuberculosis infection in a rhesus macaque model of the disease reports a study published in Nature this week. The data suggest that switching the delivery mode from intradermal to intravenous could be especially beneficial when given to adolescents or adult humans, although clinical tests are needed.


doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1817-8

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Ecology: Reassessing impacts of ocean acidification on fish behaviour

Nature, January 9, 2020

Ocean acidification due to rising CO2 levels may have a negligible impact on critical behaviours of coral reef fishes, reports a paper published in Nature. The findings, which challenge previous research, are the results of a multi-year, multi-species project aimed at assessing the impact of ocean acidification on coral reef fishes.

By the end of the century, the acidification of ...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1903-y

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Genetics: Ancient ‘chewing gum’ reveals human genome and oral microbiome

Nature Communications, December 18, 2019

The entire genome of a 5,700 year-old human from Denmark has been obtained from a specimen of chewed birch pitch, reports a study published this week in Nature Communications. An analysis of plant, animal and microorganism DNA also contained within the pitch provides insights into the oral microbiome and potential sources of the individual’s diet.

Birch pitch is obtained by heat...

doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-13549-9

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Climate change: A new dimension to marine climate change

Nature Ecology & Evolution, December 24, 2019

Marine organisms may be able to migrate to greater depths as well as towards the poles in response to climate change, but they will experience a compressed three-dimensional habitat, according to a paper published in Nature Ecology & Evolution.

If marine species are to survive rising temperatures, they may move poleward to maintain the same environmental temperature, or they may adapt...

doi: 10.1038/s41559-019-1058-0

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