top ten research highlights

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


Coronavirus: Detection of SARS-CoV-2 genetic material in aerosols

Nature, April 28, 2020

A study presenting evidence for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in the air is published in Nature today. Environmental monitoring of two hospitals and some public areas in Wuhan, China, reveals hotspots for airborne viral RNA, but whether this material has the potential to infect was not assessed. Although the sample sizes are small (fewer than 40 samples from 31 locations), the findings...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2271-3

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Evolution: ‘Crazy beast’ expands Gondwana fossil record

Nature, April 30, 2020

The discovery of the first near-complete skeleton of a gondwanatherian - a mammal that lived on the ancient southern supercontinent Gondwana - from the Cretaceous period of Madagascar, is reported in Nature this week. The finding sheds light on early mammal evolution.

The fossil record of mammals of the Mesozoic era (252 to 65 million years ago) from the southern supercontinen...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2234-8

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Clinical and virologic characteristics of the first 12 patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the United States

Nature Medicine, April 24, 2020

Medical research: Clinical progression of first 12 confirmed US COVID-19 patients analysed Detailed virological, clinical and epidemiological characterization of the first 12 patients with confirmed COVID-19 respiratory disease in the USA is reported in Nature Medicine this week. Additional studies involving larger sample sizes could further understanding of the clinical progression of ...

doi: 10.1038/s41591-020-0877-5

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Nanoscience: Mimicking the human eye

Nature, May 21, 2020

An artificial eye that mimics the structure of the human eye is described in Nature this week. The biomimetic eye has the potential to achieve high image resolution that could have applications in robotics and scientific instruments.

Human eyes have a wide field of view, excellent resolution and are highly sensitive to light, all as a result of the domed shape of the retina an...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2285-x

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Microbiology: Statins linked with altered gut microbiota in obesity

Nature, May 7, 2020

According to a cross-sectional analysis in Nature this week, a potentially dysfunctional gut microbiota configuration known as Bact2 is more common in people with obesity. The observational study also finds that the prevalence of Bact2 is lower in individuals with obesity who are taking statin drugs. Further studies, including prospective clinical trials, are now needed to determine the...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2269-x

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Machine learning: Model identifies three biomarkers associated with COVID-19 mortality

Nature Machine Intelligence, May 15, 2020

Machine learning tools selected three biomarkers — lactic dehydrogenase, lymphocyte and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein levels — that can predict the mortality of COVID-19 patients from blood samples from 485 infected individuals in Wuhan, China, according to paper published in Nature Machine Intelligence. These tools predicted the mortality of individual patients more than ten d...

doi: 10.1038/s42256-020-0180-7

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Synthetic biology: Rapid reconstruction of SARS-CoV-2 for research purposes

Nature, May 5, 2020

A rapid method for producing a synthetic version of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 respiratory disease, is described in Nature today. Recreation of emerging viruses can help researchers to develop diagnostics, treatments and vaccines.

Reconstructing viruses in the laboratory is a useful tool for studying pathogens implicated in disease outbreaks. When outbrea...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2294-9

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Evolution: Evidence for the earliest modern humans in Europe

Nature Ecology & Evolution, May 12, 2020

The discovery and dating of early modern human remains and associated artefacts from a cave in southeastern Europe is reported in two studies published in Nature and Nature Ecology & Evolution this week. The fossil hominins represent the oldest known instance of Upper Paleolithic Homo sapiens.

Modern humans (H. sapiens) entered Europe by around 45,000 years ago and soon after...

doi: 10.1038/s41559-020-1136-3

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SARS-CoV-2 entry factors are highly expressed in nasal epithelial cells together with innate immune genes

Nature Medicine, April 24, 2020

Multi-tissue genetic analysis suggests SARS-CoV-2 may infect specific nose cells Genes associated with how the virus SARS-CoV-2 enters a host were found to be expressed in specific healthy human respiratory, corneal and intestinal epithelial cells, according to a paper published this week in Nature Medicine. Expression of these genes was observed in nasal cells alongside that of genes in...

doi: 10.1038/s41591-020-0868-6

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Planetary science: How mud might flow on Mars

Nature Geoscience, May 19, 2020

The behaviour of mud flows under the low pressures and low temperatures of the Martian surface may be similar to lava flows on Earth, according to a study published online in Nature Geoscience.

Thousands of volcano-like landforms associated with lava-like flows dot the surface of Mars. Some have been attributed to magmatic volcanism. These landforms occur in terrains covered by...

doi: 10.1038/s41561-020-0577-2

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