top ten research highlights

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

22 February 2017 ~ 24 March 2017

  • Climate science: Simple rule predicts timing of interglacials

    Nature, February 23, 2017

    A simple rule for determining the timing of interglacials - the relatively warm periods that occur in between glacial ones - is described in a paper published this week in Nature. The study shows that this rule, which does not require knowledge of climate or atmospheric data, successfully predicts each interglacial period of the past million years.

    The pacing of the expansion and cont...

    Original article doi: 10.1038/nature21364

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  • Biological sciences: Circadian clock slows age-related stresses

    Nature Communications, February 22, 2017

    Stress-response genes controlled by the circadian clock are shown to be up-regulated in old fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) in a study published in Nature Communications this week. Disruption of cellular circadian clocks - the rhythmic expression of genes in 24-hour cycles - is usually associated with accelerated aging and other health issues, but the new finding sheds light on how the ci...

    Original article doi: 10.1038/ncomms14529

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  • Palaeontology: Early diversity for life on Earth

    Nature, March 2, 2017

    Evidence of microbial activity in and around hydrothermal vents at least 3,770 million years ago is reported in Nature this week, which could represent some of the earliest life on Earth.

    Some of the earliest habitable environments may have been hydrothermal vents beneath the oceans. To search for signs of life in these settings, Matthew Dodd and colleagues analysed jasper rocks from ...

    Original article doi: 10.1038/nature21377

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  • Neuroscience: Brain activity predicts problematic drug use in teenagers

    Nature Communications, February 22, 2017

    Problematic drug use at the age of 16 can be predicted by the way the brain responds to reward anticipation at the age of 14, shows a study published this week in Nature Communications.

    Adolescence is a time that is often marked by impulsive and rash decisions and a general search for thrills and novelty. This type of behaviour can be detrimental, as it encourages risky decisions, but...

    Original article doi: 10.1038/ncomms14140

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  • De-extinction could cost the Eart

    Nature Ecology and Evolution, February 28, 2017

    Bringing back extinct species could lead to biodiversity loss rather than gain, reports a paper published online this week in Nature Ecology & Evolution. The study suggests that further stretching already-strained conservation budgets to cover the costs of de-extinction could endanger extant species (species still in existence).

    Joseph Bennett and colleagues performed a cost-benefit a...

    Original article doi: 10.1038/s41559-016-0053

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  • Immunology: An oral Ebola vaccine for chimpanzees

    Scientific Reports, March 10, 2017

    An oral vaccine that may protect chimpanzees against the Ebola virus is presented in an initial study in Scientific Reports this week. The authors suggest that oral vaccination may hold promise as a safe and efficient way to protect endangered species against pathogenic threats.

    Approximately one third of the world’s gorillas have been killed by Ebola and although a number of diseas...

    Original article doi: 10.1038/srep43339

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  • Toxicology: Assessing the health impacts of 'BPA-free' plastics

    Nature Communications, March 1, 2017

    A chemical called BHPF, used in production of some ‘BPA-free’ plastics, may cause adverse pregnancy outcomes in mice, a study in Nature Communications indicates. The research also suggests that BHPF (fluorene-9-bisphenol) found in commercial water bottles may be transferred into the drinking water. However, this study does not provide evidence that BHFP has negative effects on human health,...

    Original article doi: 10.1038/ncomms14585

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  • Infectious diseases: Biomarker could help identify hidden HIV reservoirs

    Nature, March 16, 2017

    A cell surface marker has been discovered that could be used to identify and study populations of immune cells that harbour hidden reservoirs of HIV-1, a Nature paper reports. The newly identified biomarker could aid the development of potential therapies aimed at targeting these persistent viral reservoirs. Current antiretroviral therapies can suppress HIV-1 production and spread but they do n...

    Original article doi: 10.1038/nature21710

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  • The environmental cost of a loaf of bread

    Nature Plants, February 28, 2017

    An analysis of the environmental impact of the steps involved in producing a loaf of bread, from growing the wheat to its delivery to the consumer, is presented in a paper published online this week in Nature Plants. The study reveals that over half of the environmental impact of this production process comes from cultivating the wheat used to make the bread loaf, with over 40% attributable to ...

    Original article doi: 10.1038/nplants.2017.12

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  • Geography: Silk Roads emerged from the footsteps of nomads

    Nature, March 9, 2017

    The Silk Roads, an ancient network of trade routes that crossed central Asia, were shaped by the nomadic movements of herders up to 4,000 years ago, a paper in this week’s Nature reveals. The study is the first to quantify the emergence of the Silk Roads both in terms of time and ecology, highlighting the role of non-urban societies in the development of one of the most extensive networks of ...

    Original article doi: 10.1038/nature21696

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