Volume 501 Number 7468



Counting the cost p.461

As more and more of its ocean-sciences budget is eaten up by operational and maintenance costs, the US National Science Foundation should learn to take a long view when investing in major projects.

doi: 10.1038/501461a


Time for change p.461

Angela Merkel needs to tackle the issue of Germany’s uneven university funding.

doi: 10.1038/501461b


Homes for bones p.462

A dispute over the skull of an Italian cheese thief highlights the enduring debate over repatriation.

doi: 10.1038/501462a



Drilling hit by budget woes p.469

US funding for research vessel uncertain as international programme reorganizes.

doi: 10.1038/501469a


Mystery over obesity ‘fraud’ p.470

Researcher baffled after his results appear in bogus paper.

doi: 10.1038/501470a


Universities struggle to make patents pay p.471

Surfeit of unlicensed intellectual property pushes research institutions into unseemly partnerships.

doi: 10.1038/501471a


Mozilla plan seeks to debug scientific code p.472

Software experiment raises prospect of extra peer review.

doi: 10.1038/501472a


Regulation stacks up for e-cigarettes p.473

Devices may be the ‘healthy’ future of smoking — or a menace.

doi: 10.1038/501473a


Interface superconductivity found in single crystal p.474

Iron-based compound revives search for room-temperature superconductors.

doi: 10.1038/501474a



Biotechnology: The start-up engine p.476

Third Rock Ventures made its name by placing big bets on the biotechnology companies it launched. Now, everyone is waiting for the pay-off.

doi: 10.1038/501476a


Marine science: Oceanography's billion-dollar baby p.480

A mammoth undersea US project will soon start streaming data to researchers. But some wonder whether the system is worth its high price.

doi: 10.1038/501480a

News & Views


Biodiversity: Temperate hotspots p.494


doi: 10.1038/501494a


Electronics: The carbon-nanotube computer has arrived p.495


doi: 10.1038/501495a


Earth science: A resolution of the Archaean paradox p.496


doi: 10.1038/501496a


Condensed-matter physics: Rotating molecules as quantum magnets p.497


doi: 10.1038/nature12560


Cell biology: A table for two p.498


doi: 10.1038/nature12555



Heat-pipe Earth p.501

A heat-pipe model of Earth, whereby interior heat is brought to the surface through localized channels, yields predictions that agree with craton data and the detrital zircon record, and offers a global geodynamic framework in which to explore Earth’s evolution before the onset of plate tectonics.

doi: 10.1038/nature12473


Transcriptome and genome sequencing uncovers functional variation in humans p.506

Sequencing and deep analysis of mRNA and miRNA from lymphoblastoid cell lines of 462 individuals from the 1000 Genomes Project reveal widespread genetic variation affecting the regulation of most genes, with transcript structure and expression level variation being equally common but genetically largely independent, and the analyses point to putative causal variants for dozens of disease-associated loci.

doi: 10.1038/nature12531


The ubiquitin ligase parkin mediates resistance to intracellular pathogens p.512

Mutations in the ubiquitin ligase parkin are associated with increased susceptibility to Parkinson’s disease; parkin is already known to have a role in mitophagy and this work identifies a new innate immunity role for parkin in ubiquitin-mediated autophagy of intracellular bacterial pathogens.

doi: 10.1038/nature12566



Swings between rotation and accretion power in a binary millisecond pulsar p.517

A neutron star with a low mass companion star was observed at different times as a millisecond pulsar powered either by the rotation of its magnetic field or by the accretion of mass, demonstrating the evolutionary link between these two classes of pulsars, and probing the short timescales on which the transitions between the two states may occur.

doi: 10.1038/nature12470


Observation of dipolar spin-exchange interactions with lattice-confined polar molecules p.521

In a step towards developing a system in which to study quantum magnetism, the long-range dipolar interactions of polar molecules pinned in a three-dimensional optical lattice are used to realize a lattice spin model.

doi: 10.1038/nature12483


Carbon nanotube computer p.526

A computer built entirely using transistors based on carbon nanotubes, which is capable of multitasking and emulating instructions from the MIPS instruction set, is enabled by methods that overcome inherent challenges with this new technology.

doi: 10.1038/nature12502


Alkane desaturation by concerted double hydrogen atom transfer to benzyne p.531

Benzynes are capable of concerted removal of two vicinal hydrogen atoms from a hydrocarbon, a discovery enabled by the thermal generation of reactive benzyne intermediates through the hexadehydro-Diels–Alder cycloisomerization reaction of triyne substrates.

doi: 10.1038/nature12492


Atmospheric oxygenation three billion years ago p.535

The distribution of chromium isotopes and redox-sensitive metals in the Nsuze palaeosol and in the Ijzermyn iron formation from the Pongola Supergroup, in South Africa, suggests that there were appreciable levels of atmospheric oxygen about three billion years ago, some 300–400 million years earlier than previous indications for Earth surface oxygenation.

doi: 10.1038/nature12426


Integrating abundance and functional traits reveals new global hotspots of fish diversity p.539

Global reef fish diversity is studied with metrics incorporating species abundances and functional traits; these identify diversity hotspots corresponding to the diversity of functional traits amongst individuals in the community, and greater evenness in the abundance of reef fishes at higher latitudes, findings that contrast with patterns reported previously using traditional richness-based methods.

doi: 10.1038/nature12529


A disinhibitory microcircuit initiates critical-period plasticity in the visual cortex p.543

The role of parvalbumin (PV)-positive interneurons in ocular dominance plasticity (ODP) has been a point of contention; here PV-positive cells are shown to initiate competitive periods of plasticity during the critical periods of eye development when ODP occurs, and transient reductions in inhibitory firing from PV-positive cells provides a return to normal firing rates in excitatory neurons, a key step in ODP progression.

doi: 10.1038/nature12485


The BC component of ABC toxins is an RHS-repeat-containing protein encapsulation device p.547

The crystal structure of the complex formed by the B and C toxin complex proteins is reported, revealing how toxin complexes are processed and protected; the proteins assemble to form a large hollow structure that sequesters the cytotoxic portion of the C protein, and a β-propeller domain mediates attachment to the A protein in the native ABC complex.

doi: 10.1038/nature12465


Characterization of H7N9 influenza A viruses isolated from humans p.551

Here, biological attributes of two early human isolates of the newly emerged H7N9 influenza viruses are characterized: the potential of these viruses to infect and/or transmit within various animal models is discussed, as is their relative sensitivity to neuraminidase inhibitors and experimental polymerase inhibitors compared to an H1N1 pandemic strain.

doi: 10.1038/nature12392


Pathogenesis and transmission of avian influenza A (H7N9) virus in ferrets and mice p.556

The new H7N9 influenza virus, recently emerged in China, can replicate in human airway cells and in the respiratory tract of ferrets to a higher level than can seasonal H3N2 virus and shows higher lethality in mice than genetically related H7N9 and H9N2 viruses, but shows limited transmission in ferrets by respiratory droplets.

doi: 10.1038/nature12391


Limited airborne transmission of H7N9 influenza A virus between ferrets p.560

An investigation into the transmissibility of the H7N9 influenza A virus in ferrets finds that although the virus has some determinants associated with human adaptation and transmissibility between mammals, the airborne transmission between ferrets is limited.

doi: 10.1038/nature12476


Wapl is an essential regulator of chromatin structure and chromosome segregation p.564

Depletion of the cohesin-associated protein Wapl in mice is shown to increase the residence time of cohesin on DNA, which leads to clustering of cohesin in axial structures, and causes chromatin condensation in interphase chromosomes; the findings suggest that cohesin could have an architectural role in interphase chromosome organization.

doi: 10.1038/nature12471


Two replication fork maintenance pathways fuse inverted repeats to rearrange chromosomes p.569

Stalling of replication forks in sequences that have non-allelic repeats can lead to genomic rearrangements; here two pathways consistent with homologous recombination and error-free post-replication repair fuse identical and mismatched repeats, respectively, thus inducing chromosomal rearrangements in mouse embryonic stem cells.

doi: 10.1038/nature12500


A two-domain elevator mechanism for sodium/proton antiport p.573

The X-ray crystal structure of NapA, a Na+/H+ antiporter from Thermus thermophilus, in an active, outward-facing state is reported; comparisons to the structure of a related transporter in a low pH/inactivated, inward-facing state show the conformational changes that occur when the membrane protein moves from an inward-facing to an outward-facing state, suggesting that Na+/H+ antiporters operate by a two-domain rocking bundle model.

doi: 10.1038/nature12484

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