top ten research highlights

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


Planetary science: Building blocks of DNA detected in meteorites

Nature Communications, April 27, 2022

Pyrimidine nucleobases that are necessary for building DNA or RNA may have been delivered to Earth by carbon-rich meteorites, suggests a paper published in Nature Communications.

Two types of chemical building blocks, or nucleobases, are needed to form DNA and RNA. These are the pyrimidines, which include cytosine, uracil and thymine, and the purines, for example guanine and ad...

doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-29612-x

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Animal health: New life expectancy estimates for UK dogs suggest Jack Russell Terriers live longest

Scientific Reports, April 29, 2022

Jack Russell Terriers and Yorkshire Terriers have the highest life expectancies of dog breeds in the UK, according to a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports. However, flat-faced breeds such as French Bulldogs and Pugs have some of the lowest life expectancies.

Kendy Tzu-yun Teng, Dan O’Neill and colleagues analysed 30,563 records of dog deaths from veterinary...

doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-10341-6

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Palaeontology: Spider fossils preserved with the help of microscopic algae

Communications Earth & Environment, April 22, 2022

The exceptional preservation of 22.5-million-year-old spider fossils from southern France may be due to secretions from microscopic algae, known as diatoms, according to an article published in Communications Earth & Environment. Small and delicate animals — such as spiders, insects and amphibians ⁠— are rarely preserved in detail within the fossil record. The newly described d...

doi: 10.1038/s43247-022-00424-7

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Planetary science: Potential for shallow liquid water on Europa

Nature Communications, April 20, 2022

Shallow liquid water may be present on Jupiter’s moon Europa suggests a study, based on data from the Greenland ice sheet, published in Nature Communications. The findings could provide further insights into the geophysical processes that formed the moon.

Jupiter’s moon Europa has been visited by the Voyager and Galileo spacecrafts. Data collected on these missions, in addi...

doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-29458-3

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Neuroscience: Neurons that selectively die in Parkinson’s disease identified

Nature Neuroscience, May 6, 2022

A specific subtype of dopamine-releasing neurons that is selectively lost in Parkinson’s disease has been identified in human brain samples, according to a study published in Nature Neuroscience.

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by slowed movement, tremors, stiffness, and impaired balance and coordination. The disease is caused by the degene...

doi: 10.1038/s41593-022-01061-1

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Ecology: Surprisingly sweet seagrass

Nature Ecology & Evolution, May 3, 2022

Sucrose accumulates under seagrass meadows at concentrations that are approximately 80 times greater than previous marine records, according to a study in Nature Ecology & Evolution. The findings indicate that seagrass could represent a large global store of organic carbon, predicted to result from the inhibition of microbial activity that would otherwise degrade it.


doi: 10.1038/s41559-022-01740-z

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Ecology: Negative impacts of agriculture and climate change on insect biodiversity

Nature, April 21, 2022

Interplay between historical climate warming and intensive agricultural land use is associated with a reduction of almost 50% in insect abundance, reports a paper in Nature.

Climate change and land-use change are known to affect insect biodiversity, and these factors can act synergistically; for example, removing natural habitats to make agricultural land can alter the microcli...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-022-04644-x

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Ecology: Assessing the risk of reptile extinctions

Nature, April 28, 2022

Over 21% of reptile species are threatened with extinction, suggests a global assessment of more than 10,000 species published in Nature. The findings indicate that some reptiles, including many species of crocodiles and turtles, require urgent conservation efforts to prevent extinctions.

Comprehensive extinction risk assessments are available for birds, mammals and amphibians,...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-022-04664-7

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Space Biology: One small step towards plants on the Moon

Communications Biology, May 13, 2022

Experiments to investigate the viability of growing plants on the Moon have unearthed that thale cress plants grow more slowly and show more signs of stress when grown in lunar soil samples collected during the Apollo missions than in volcanic ash from Earth. The findings, published in Communications Biology, highlight the need for further research into the interactions between plants an...

doi: 10.1038/s42003-022-03334-8

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Psychology: Video calls are shown to reduce creativity

Nature, April 28, 2022

Video calls are shown to reduce the production of creative ideas, compared to in-person meetings, finds a study published in Nature. The findings suggest that virtual interactions may have a cognitive cost when creating ideas collaboratively.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of employees were required to work from home indefinitely and collaborate virtually using videocon...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-022-04643-y

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