top ten research highlights

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


Palaeontology: New Australian pterosaur may have survived the longest

Scientific Reports, October 4, 2019

The discovery of a previously unknown species of pterosaur, which may have persisted as late as the Turonian period (90 - 93 million years ago), is reported in Scientific Reports this week. The fossil, which includes parts of the skull and five vertebrae, is the most complete pterosaur specimen ever found in Australia. The findings suggest it may be a late-surviving member of the Anhanguera gen...

doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-49789-4

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Drug discovery: Designer drugs for diabetes

Nature, September 26, 2019

A potential new treatment for type 2 diabetes has multiple, positive effects on health and metabolism in mice, reports a study in Nature. The new drug might have potential for treating a variety of disorders in addition to type 2 diabetes, such as muscle atrophy, although clinical trials in humans are needed.

An estimated 370 million people currently live with type 2 diabetes, and the...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1601-9

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Geography, not genetics, influences the American pika’s response to climate

Nature Climate Change, September 24, 2019

Geography, not genetics, influences the American pika’s response to climate

Understanding why variability in responses exists within a species, and how it affects that species’ adaptability to a changing climate, is important for conservation efforts. Previously, such variability was thought to be caused by genetic differences between populations. The pika, a small relative of r...

doi: 10.1038/s41558-019-0584-8

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Archaeology: Prehistoric baby bottles

Nature, September 26, 2019

Small, spouted vessels found in Bronze and Iron Age graves of infants in Bavaria were probably used to feed animal milk to babies and small children. Analyses of these artefacts, presented in Nature this week, provide insights into the infant weaning practices of prehistoric human groups.

Pottery vessels with spouts through which liquid could be poured have been found dating back to N...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1572-x

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Public health: Black carbon particles observed in the placenta

Nature Communications, September 18, 2019

Black carbon particles have been found on the fetal side of the placenta of women exposed to air pollution during pregnancy, finds an observational study involving 28 women published this week in Nature Communications. Further research is needed to determine whether the particles are able to reach the fetus.

Black carbon particles are released every day into the ambient air, in large ...

doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-11654-3

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Climate: Deep learning assists El Nino prediction

Nature, September 19, 2019

A deep learning method that can predict El Nino events up to one and a half years before they happen is described in Nature. The approach overcomes a long-standing challenge in the field of El Nino forecasting.

El Nino events originate in the eastern and central Pacific and can cause climate extremes and substantial damage to local ecosystems. Predicting these events has been difficul...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1559-7

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Health: Birth mode linked to microbiome disruption

Nature, September 19, 2019

Babies delivered by caesarean section tend to have altered gut microbiota and are more prone to colonization by bacteria that potentially cause disease, according to a report in Nature. In the largest known study of its kind, the results confirm previous findings suggesting that the mode of delivery is a major factor that shapes the gut microbiota in the first few weeks of life.


doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1560-1

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Cell biology: Endocannabinoid system may be involved in human testis physiology

Scientific Reports, September 20, 2019

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) may be directly involved in the regulation of the physiology of the human testis, including the development of sperm cells, according to a study in tissue samples from 15 patients published in Scientific Reports.

The ECS is a signalling system consisting of endocannabinoids - a type of neurotransmitter - their associated receptors, enzymes and proteins...

doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-49177-y

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Medical research: Modelling vocal folds in a dish

Nature Communications, September 25, 2019

A system to produce a 3D model of human vocal fold tissue (called mucosa) in the laboratory is reported in a study in Nature Communications. When exposed to cigarette smoke, the tissue replicates the response seen in the human larynx, namely, inflammation. This model could enable the study of drugs and treatments for vocal fold diseases or damage.

The vocal folds are the basis of our ...

doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-12069-w

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Ecology: Stress-resistant corals maintain heat tolerance under cooler temperatures

Nature Communications, September 18, 2019

Heat-resistant corals can maintain their health and resistance to heatwaves at cooler temperatures, a study in Nature Communications reports. However, these corals cannot increase their bleaching threshold after acclimatizing to warmer conditions. The findings suggest that corals from thermally extreme conditions could be used to help restore cooler reefs degraded by bleaching, but they will ha...

doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-12065-0

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