Volume 500 Number 7461



Handle with care p.121

The possibility that H7N9 avian influenza may evolve sufficiently to cause a pandemic has scientists turning again to controversial research —they must be careful how they justify the risks taken.

doi: 10.1038/500121a


Blood ties p.121

Scientists should give donors more information about how their biospecimens are used.

doi: 10.1038/500121b



Scientists swept up in terrorism trials p.129

Turkish government ignores calls that trials are unfair.

doi: 10.1038/500129a


Best way to kill lab animals sought p.130

Researchers debate most humane methods of dispatch.

doi: 10.1038/500130a


Squeezed light mutes quantum noise p.131

Silicon zip reduces energy fluctuations in laser beams to improve sensitivity of optical motion sensors.

doi: 10.1038/500131a


Deal done over HeLa cell line p.132

Family of Henrietta Lacks agrees to release of genomic data.

doi: 10.1038/500132a


Spin rate of black holes pinned down p.135

Calculation offers way to probe galactic evolution.

doi: 10.1038/500135a

News Features


Climate science: A line in the sands p.136


doi: 10.1038/500136a


Exotic optics: Metamaterial world p.138


doi: 10.1038/500138a

News & Views


Neuroscience: Accurate maps of visual circuitry p.154


doi: 10.1038/500154a


Solar system: Saturn's tides control Enceladus' plume p.155


doi: 10.1038/nature12462


Biochemistry: Curbing the excesses of low demand p.157


doi: 10.1038/nature12461


Evolutionary biology: The handiwork of tinkering p.158


doi: 10.1038/500158a


Climate science: Solution proposed for ice-age mystery p.159


doi: 10.1038/500159a


Palaeontology: Jurassic fossils and mammalian antiquity p.160


doi: 10.1038/500160a



A Jurassic mammaliaform and the earliest mammalian evolutionary adaptations p.163

Haramiyids were Mesozoic era animals that until now have been identified only from their distinctive teeth, and are thought to be related to the better-known multituberculates: here the authors describe a haramiyid that is very primitive in terms of its jaw and ankle characteristics, suggesting a lack of relationship to the multituberculates.

doi: 10.1038/nature12429


Connectomic reconstruction of the inner plexiform layer in the mouse retina p.168

Improved electron microscopy methods are used to map a mammalian retinal circuit of close to 1,000 neurons; the work reveals a new type of retinal bipolar neuron and suggests functional mechanisms for known visual computations.

doi: 10.1038/nature12346


A visual motion detection circuit suggested by Drosophila connectomics p.175

Reconstruction of a connectome within the fruitfly visual medulla, containing more than 300 neurons and over 8,000 chemical synapses, reveals a candidate motion detection circuit; such a circuit operates by combining displaced visual inputs, an operation consistent with correlation based motion detection.

doi: 10.1038/nature12450



An observed correlation between plume activity and tidal stresses on Enceladus p.182

The plume at the south pole of Enceladus is several times brighter when that moon is near the apocentre of its eccentric orbit around Saturn than when it is near its orbital pericentre, showing that more material appears to be escaping from beneath Enceladus’ surface at times when models predict its fissures should be under tension.

doi: 10.1038/nature12371


Squeezed light from a silicon micromechanical resonator p.185

Quantum fluctuations of a laser are transferred onto the motion of a mechanical resonator and interfere with the fluctuations of the light reflected from the resonator, leading to ‘squeezed’ light with optical noise suppressed below the standard quantum limit.

doi: 10.1038/nature12307


Insolation-driven 100,000-year glacial cycles and hysteresis of ice-sheet volume p.190

Comprehensive climate and ice-sheet models show that insolation and internal feedbacks between the climate, the ice sheets and the lithosphere–asthenosphere system explain the 100,000-year period on which the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets grow and shrink.

doi: 10.1038/nature12374


Nitrogen losses in anoxic marine sediments driven by Thioploca–anammox bacterial consortia p.194

A novel symbiotic consortium is described between two chemolithotrophic bacteria — anaerobic ammonium-oxidizing (anammox) bacteria and the nitrate-sequestering sulphur-oxidizing Thioploca species — in anoxic sediments of the Soledad basin at the Mexican Pacific margin.

doi: 10.1038/nature12365


A new arboreal haramiyid shows the diversity of crown mammals in the Jurassic period p.199

Suggestions that haramiyids were related to multituberculates are substantiated with the first discovery of a haramiyid skeleton from the Jurassic period of China; recalibrating evolutionary relationships, this finding means that the lineage leading to placentals and marsupial mammals was distinct in the Triassic period, more than 200 million years ago.

doi: 10.1038/nature12353


A latent capacity for evolutionary innovation through exaptation in metabolic systems p.203

A computational analysis of the ability of a metabolic reaction network to synthesize all biomass from a single source of carbon and energy shows that when such networks are required to be viable on one particular carbon source, they are typically also viable on multiple other carbon sources that were not targets of selection.

doi: 10.1038/nature12301


The haplotype-resolved genome and epigenome of the aneuploid HeLa cancer cell line p.207

Haplotype-resolved whole-genome sequencing of the HeLa CCL-2 strain shows that HeLa is relatively stable in terms of point variation; integration of several data sets reveals strong, haplotype-specific activation of the proto-oncogene MYC by the human papilloma virus type 18 genome, and enables the relationship between gene dosage and expression to be examined.

doi: 10.1038/nature12064


A directional tuning map of Drosophila elementary motion detectors p.212

This study uses calcium imaging to show that T4 and T5 neurons are divided in specific subpopulations responding to motion in four cardinal directions, and are specific to ON versus OFF edges, respectively; when either T4 or T5 neurons were genetically blocked, tethered flies walking on air-suspended beads failed to respond to the corresponding visual stimuli.

doi: 10.1038/nature12320


Generation of inner ear sensory epithelia from pluripotent stem cells in 3D culture p.217

A new approach has been developed in order to achieve the stepwise differentiation of inner ear sensory epithelia from mouse embryonic stem cells in a three-dimensional culture: this process, which mimics normal development and produces cells that have functional characteristics of mechanosensitive hair cells, is hoped to provide further insights into inner ear development and disorder.

doi: 10.1038/nature12298


Vitamin C induces Tet-dependent DNA demethylation and a blastocyst-like state in ES cells p.222

Vitamin C is a direct regulator of Tet enzyme activity and DNA methylation fidelity in mouse ES cells; addition of vitamin C promotes Tet activity, increases 5-hydroxymethlycytosine (5hmC) and DNA demethylation of many gene promoters, upregulates demethylated germline genes, and induces a state that more closely approximates that of the inner cell mass of the blastocyst.

doi: 10.1038/nature12362


Molecular basis of binding between novel human coronavirus MERS-CoV and its receptor CD26 p.227

MERS-CoV is a newly emerged coronavirus that is related to SARS-CoV and has proven fatal in half of the people it has infected to date: here the crystal structure of the MERS-CoV receptor binding domain is presented in complex with its receptor on human cells, CD26.

doi: 10.1038/nature12328


Treg induction by a rationally selected mixture of Clostridia strains from the human microbiota p.232

This study identifies 17 strains of human-derived Clostridia capable of inducing the accumulation and functional maturation of regulatory T cells; it is suggested that these strains may be useful candidates for the future development of oral bacterial therapeutics to treat human inflammatory disorders.

doi: 10.1038/nature12331


Pyrimidine homeostasis is accomplished by directed overflow metabolism p.237

Here, the authors identify a previously unknown regulatory strategy used by Escherichia coli to control end-product levels of the pyrimidine biosynthetic pathway: this involves feedback regulation of the near-terminal pathway enzyme UMP kinase, with accumulation of UMP prevented by its degradation to uridine through UmpH, a phosphatase with a previously unknown function.

doi: 10.1038/nature12445

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