Volume 505 Number 7481


The greater good p.5

Governments, funding agencies and universities must all do their bit to ensure that research is appropriately assessed and rewarded.

doi: 10.1038/505005a


Triple-threat method sparks hope for fusion p.9

The secrets to its success are lasers, magnets and a big pinch.

doi: 10.1038/505009a

Water risk as world warms p.10

First comprehensive global-impact project shows that water scarcity is a major worry.

doi: 10.1038/505010a

X-ray source left without home p.11

No plans to build next-generation accelerator despite large investment by US agency.

doi: 10.1038/505011a

What to expect in 2014 p.13

Nature takes a look at what is in store for science in the new year.

doi: 10.1038/505013a

News Features

Behaviour and biology: The accidental epigeneticist p.14

By studying disadvantaged children, Richard Tremblay has traced the roots of chronic aggressive behaviour back as far as infancy. Now he hopes to go back further.

doi: 10.1038/505014a

News & Views

Malaria: Resistance nailed p.30

A series of in vitro, genomic, ecological and epidemiological studies has pinpointed gene mutations in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum that play a key part in resistance to artemisinin-based antimalarial drugs. See Article p.50

doi: 10.1038/nature12845

Extrasolar planets: Cloudy with a chance of dustballs p.31

The flat and featureless transmission spectra of two intermediate-sized extrasolar planets, observed during the planets' passage across their host stars, shed light on the properties of their atmospheres. See Letters p.66 & p.69

doi: 10.1038/505031a

Archaic humans: Four makes a party p.32

Adding the first high-quality Neanderthal sequence to genomic comparisons of archaic and modern humans sheds light on gene flow, population structure and adaptation, and suggests the existence of an unknown group. See Article p.43

doi: 10.1038/nature12847

Climate science: Clouds of uncertainty p.34

An evaluation of atmospheric convective mixing and low-level clouds in climate models suggests that Earth's climate will warm more than was thought in response to increasing levels of carbon dioxide. See Article p.37

doi: 10.1038/505034a

Cell biology: The beginning of the end p.35

Studies in mice and humans suggest that cellular senescence, the cessation of cell proliferation that is known to suppress cancer and promote ageing, may have evolved to regulate embryonic development.

doi: 10.1038/nature12844


Spread in model climate sensitivity traced to atmospheric convective mixing p.37

The change in global mean temperature in response to a change in external forcing is highly uncertain; here differences in the simulated strength of convective mixing between the lower and middle tropical troposphere are shown to explain about half of the variance in climate sensitivity, constraining the predicted equilibrium climate sensitivity to an increase of 3 to 5 degrees Celsius.

doi: 10.1038/nature12829

The complete genome sequence of a Neanderthal from the Altai Mountains p.43

A complete genome sequence is presented of a female Neanderthal from Siberia, providing information about interbreeding between close relatives and uncovering gene flow events among Neanderthals, Denisovans and early modern humans, as well as establishing substitutions that became fixed in modern humans after their separation from the ancestors of Neanderthals and Denisovans.

doi: 10.1038/nature12886

A molecular marker of artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria p.50

A molecular marker is required to monitor artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum parasites in southeast Asia; here mutations in K13-propeller are associated with artemisinin resistance in vitro and in vivo and also cluster in Cambodian provinces where resistance is prevalent.

doi: 10.1038/nature12876

Structural basis for Ca2+ selectivity of a voltage-gated calcium channel p.56

X-ray crystal structures of a voltage-gated Na+ channel mutated to be highly Ca2+ selective provide a framework for understanding the mechanisms of ion selectivity and conductance in vertebrate voltage-gated Ca2+ channels.

doi: 10.1038/nature12775


Strong neutrino cooling by cycles of electron capture and β decay in neutron star crusts p.62

Cycles of electron capture and β decay involving neutron-rich nuclei at a typical depth of about 150 metres are found to cool the outer crust of a neutron star by emitting neutrinos while also thermally decoupling the surface layers from the deeper crust; this mechanism has been studied in other astrophysical environments, but has not hitherto been considered in neutron stars.

doi: 10.1038/nature12757

A featureless transmission spectrum for the Neptune-mass exoplanet GJ 436b p.66

The transmission spectrum of the Neptune-mass exoplanet GJ 436b is shown to be featureless, implying that the planet has either a hydrogen-poor atmosphere or a high cloud layer.

doi: 10.1038/nature12887

Clouds in the atmosphere of the super-Earth exoplanet GJ 1214b p.69

The transmission spectrum of the super-Earth exoplanet GJ 1214b is observed to be featureless at near-infrared wavelengths and its atmosphere must contain clouds to be consistent with the data.

doi: 10.1038/nature12888

DNA-mediated nanoparticle crystallization into Wulff polyhedra p.73

Very slow cooling, over several days, of solutions of complementary-DNA-modified nanoparticles through the melting temperature of the system produces nanoparticle assemblies with the Wulff equilibrium crystal structure, thus showing that DNA hybridization can direct nanoparticle assembly along a pathway that mimics atomic crystallization.

doi: 10.1038/nature12739

Increasing subtropical North Pacific Ocean nitrogen fixation since the Little Ice Age p.78

Despite a reduction in nutrient supply to the North Pacific subtropical gyre, it has undergone a recent increase in nitrogen fixation, and here records of nitrogen isotopes preserved in Hawaiian corals show that this is a trend that could be linked to climate change since the end of the Little Ice Age.

doi: 10.1038/nature12784

Low investment in sexual reproduction threatens plants adapted to phosphorus limitation p.82

Plant life-history traits, notably plant investments in growth versus reproduction, can explain the impact of nitrogen:phosphorus stoichiometry on plant species richness; compared with plants in nitrogen-limited communities, plants in phosphorus-limited communities (in which endangered plant species are more common) invest little in phosphorus-intense activity such as sexual reproduction and have conservative leaf traits.

doi: 10.1038/nature12733

Upper Palaeolithic Siberian genome reveals dual ancestry of Native Americans p.87

Draft genomes of two south-central Siberian individuals dating to 24,000 and 17,000 years ago show that they are genetically closely related to modern-day western Eurasians and Native Americans but not to east Asians; the results have implications for our understanding of the origins of Native Americans.

doi: 10.1038/nature12736

Prefrontal parvalbumin interneurons shape neuronal activity to drive fear expression p.92

Single-unit recordings and optogenetic manipulations in mice undergoing auditory fear conditioning show that fear expression is related to the phasic inhibition of prefrontal cortex (PFC) parvalbumin interneurons; inhibition disinhibits PFC projection neurons and synchronizes their firing, leading to fear expression.

doi: 10.1038/nature12755

Divergent angiocrine signals from vascular niche balance liver regeneration and fibrosis p.97

Divergent angiocrine signals from liver sinusoidal endothelial cells elicit regeneration after immediate injury and provoke fibrosis after chronic insult.

doi: 10.1038/nature12681

Antibacterial membrane attack by a pore-forming intestinal C-type lectin p.103

Secreted C-type lectins protect the intestinal epithelium from Gram-positive bacteria; this study shows that for the C-type lectin RegIIIα, bacterial killing occurs in a two-step process whereby the lectin first binds to bacterial peptidoglycans then oligomerizes on the bacterial membrane to form a permeabilizing pore.

doi: 10.1038/nature12729

Structural basis for recognition of synaptic vesicle protein 2C by botulinum neurotoxin A p.108

Botulinum neurotoxin A (BoNT/A) is considered the most toxic substance known but is also used as a therapeutic drug for a growing number of diseases and conditions; researchers have now obtained a high-resolution crystal structure of the receptor-binding domain of the BoNT/A in complex with the luminal domain of synaptic vesicle protein 2C (SV2C), one of its receptors, allowing the identification of a peptide that can inhibit complex formation.

doi: 10.1038/nature12732

Coupled GTPase and remodelling ATPase activities form a checkpoint for ribosome export p.112

Two proteins are identified in yeast that regulate the timing of pre-ribosome export from the nucleus; Nug2 binds pre-60S particles until they are ready for export, at which time Nug2 is replaced by the export adaptor Nmd3, enabling the export machinery to recognise the pre-ribosome that is ready to be transferred to the cytoplasm.

doi: 10.1038/nature12731

N6-methyladenosine-dependent regulation of messenger RNA stability p.117

The mRNAs of higher eukaryotes are extensively modified internally with N6-methyladenosine, but the specific functional role of this modification has been unclear; here this modification on mRNA is shown to be recognized by several proteins, the modification and its recognition serve to regulate the RNA’s lifetime.

doi: 10.1038/nature12730

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