top ten research highlights

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

27 March 2017 ~ 26 April 2017

  • Biotechnology: Female menstrual cycle replicated in a dish

    Nature Communications, March 29, 2017

    The 28-day menstrual cycle of the human reproductive tract can be mimicked using “organ-on-a-chip” technology, reports a paper published in Nature Communications. The study demonstrates for the first time that various reproductive tract tissues can be successfully cultured together with other tissues for a full month and observed to release hormones, as found in a normal menstrual cycle. Th...

    Original article doi: 10.1038/ncomms14584

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  • Environment: Trading pollution for human health

    Nature, March 30, 2017

    More than one million premature deaths in 2007 have been related to fine particulate matter pollution as a result of international trade and the transport of pollution through the atmosphere, according to a global analysis of air quality and premature mortality presented this week in Nature.

    Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is thought to account for more than 90% of premature deaths fr...

    Original article doi: 10.1038/nature21712

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  • Palaeontology: Tyrannosaurs show their sensitive side

    Scientific Reports, March 31, 2017

    A new species of tyrannosaur dinosaur is described in a paper in Scientific Reports this week. By analysing the texture of the facial bones of the new species - Daspletosaurus horneri - and other tyrannosauroids, the authors suggest that the face of tyrannosaurs was covered in a scaly protective layer with a high degree of tactile sensitivity, similar to crocodylians.

    Thomas Carr and ...

    Original article doi: 10.1038/srep44942

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  • Ecology: ‘Perfect storm’ of infection may threaten European salamanders

    Nature, April 20, 2017

    A ‘perfect storm’ of newly described characteristics, reported in Nature this week, is enabling one particular fungus to decimate European salamander populations. As the fungus continues to spread, the authors call for a Europe-wide early warning system to monitor its movements, and an emergency action plan that prioritizes conservation of acutely endangered newts and salamanders ex situ (o...

    Original article doi: 10.1038/nature22059

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  • Sustainability: How food trade eats into groundwater supplies

    Nature, March 30, 2017

    A vast majority of the world’s population live in countries that source most of their imported food crops from regions that overexploit groundwater sources to produce these crops, reports a study in Nature this week. The identification of countries, crops and food trade relationships that are depleting groundwater supplies may help to drive efforts to improve the sustainability of global food...

    Original article doi: 10.1038/nature21403

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  • Fruit fuels the evolution of big brains

    Nature Ecology and Evolution, March 28, 2017

    Brain size in primates is better predicted by their diet than by how complex their social lives are, reports a paper published online this week in Nature Ecology & Evolution. The largest analysis of its kind to date, the study calls into question the current hypothesis for explaining why humans and certain groups of primates evolved larger brains than most other animals.

    Previous stud...

    Original article doi: 10.1038/s41559-017-0112

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  • Ageing: Human cord-blood protein enhances cognitive function in old mice

    Nature, April 20, 2017

    A protein present in human umbilical cord plasma can revitalize the hippocampus and improve cognitive function in aged mice, reveals a Nature paper published online this week. The discovery could potentially aid the development of therapies to target degeneration in the ageing brain.

    Tony Wyss-Coray and colleagues have previously shown that blood-borne factors in young mice can counte...

    Original article doi: 10.1038/nature22067

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  • Zoology: How mosquitoes wing it

    Nature, March 30, 2017

    The unique aerodynamic mechanisms underlying mosquito flight are described in a paper published online in Nature this week.

    Mosquitoes have long, thin wings that beat rapidly for their size (at a frequency of around 800 Hz), with shallow strokes that are smaller than in any other insect group. The entire angular sweep of the mosquito wing is around 40 degrees, less than half that of t...

    Original article doi: 10.1038/nature21727

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  • Psychology: Toddler touchscreen use is associated with less sleep

    Scientific Reports, April 14, 2017

    Increased daily use of touchscreen devices by infants and toddlers is associated with a decrease in the total amount of sleep they get according to a study in Scientific Reports. However, further studies are needed to clarify what effects touchscreen use may have and the mechanisms that may underlie this association.

    In recent years family ownership of touchscreen devices has risen ra...

    Original article doi: 10.1038/srep46104

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  • Ageing: Dietary fat can increase longevity in worms

    Nature, April 6, 2017

    Dietary mono-unsaturated fatty acids can extend lifespan in nematode worms, suggests a Nature paper published online this week. Further research is required to determine whether these findings could have implications for human health and lifespan.

    H3K4me3 methyltransferase is an enzyme involved in histone modification, an epigenetic phenomenon whereby environmental signals are able to...

    Original article doi: 10.1038/nature21686

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