Volume 525 Number 7567


Personal responsibility p.5

The US Precision Medicine Initiative needs to tread carefully when revealing health and genetic data to participants.

doi: 10.1038/525005a

Parched California p.5

Drought highlights the state’s lack of an ecological strategy.

doi: 10.1038/525005b


Pluto snow forecast poses atmospheric conundrum p.13

Discrepancy arises between New Horizons and Earth-based measurements.

doi: 10.1038/525013a

Quantum ‘spookiness’ passes toughest test yet p.14

Experiment plugs loopholes in previous demonstrations of 'action at a distance', against Einstein's objections — and could make data encryption safer.

doi: 10.1038/nature.2015.18255

Next-generation X-ray source fires up p.15

Swedish synchrotron promises to open up new avenues for researchers.

doi: 10.1038/nature.2015.18253

Giant study poses DNA data-sharing dilemma p.16

US Precision Medicine Initiative must decide how much data to release to participants.

doi: 10.1038/525016a

News Features

The tiniest Lego: a tale of nanoscale motors, rotors, switches and pumps p.18

Inspired by biology, chemists have created a cornucopia of molecular parts that act as switches, motors and ratchets. Now it is time to do something useful with them.

doi: 10.1038/525018a

What could derail the wearables revolution? p.22

US Precision Medicine Initiative must decide how much data to release to participants.

doi: 10.1038/525022a

News & Views

Neurodegeneration: Problems at the nuclear pore p.36

Expansion of a repetitive DNA sequence is associated with neurodegeneration. Three studies identify genes involved in nuclear import and export that can mediate the toxicity this expansion causes. See Article p.56 & Letter p.129

doi: 10.1038/nature15208

Soft matter: Frictionless fluids from bacterial teamwork p.37

By increasing the sensitivity of an established technique, researchers have shown that swimming bacteria can make frictionless fluids — with potential applications in areas such as microfluidics.

doi: 10.1038/525037a

Ecology: Global trends in plant naturalization p.39

Many naturalized non-native plants pose ecological and economic threats. A quantitative analysis of the global distribution of naturalized plants confirms some anticipated trends and exposes new patterns. See Letter p.100

doi: 10.1038/nature15206

Superconductivity: Extraordinarily conventional p.40

Attitudes to high-temperature superconductivity have swung from disbelief to a conviction that it occurs only 'unconventionally'. But conventional superconductivity is now reported at record high temperatures. See Letter p.73

doi: 10.1038/nature15203

Genetics: Location affects sporulation p.42

Monitored changes in the number of copies of a gene during DNA replication control the timing of sporulation in bacteria. This discovery links replication to the concept that a gene's location on a chromosome can influence cell traits.

doi: 10.1038/nature15207

Hydrology: The diversified economics of soil water p.43

Soil water that evaporates or is tapped by plants is largely separate from that which runs into streams and recharges groundwater. This finding has big implications for our understanding of water cycling. See Letter p.91

doi: 10.1038/525043a

Molecular biology: Unequal opportunity during class switching p.44

The DNA breakage-and-repair mechanism that generates antibodies of different classes has, in theory, a 50% chance of occurring correctly. But this recombination turns out to be heavily biased towards productive events. See Letter p.134

doi: 10.1038/nature15209


The quiet revolution of numerical weather prediction p.47

The cumulative progress of numerical weather prediction represents one of the most remarkable successes of modern science; here the many technological and scientific advances that have brought NWP to its present level are reviewed, as are the considerable challenges for the future.

doi: 10.1038/nature14956


The C9orf72 repeat expansion disrupts nucleocytoplasmic transport p.56

doi: 10.1038/nature14973

Architecture of the synaptotagmin–SNARE machinery for neuronal exocytosis p.62

The first crystal structures of complexes between synaptotagmin-1 and neuronal SNARE, bound to either Ca2+ or Mg2+, are described, and show that Ca2+-triggered neurotransmitter release relies on a large, Ca2+-independent interface.

doi: 10.1038/nature14975

Structural insights into the bacterial carbon–phosphorus lyase machinery p.68

The crystal structure of the 240-kilodalton C–P lyase core complex from the bacterium E. coli offers insights into the relatively unknown mechanisms of the enzymatic machinery that allows some microbes to extract phosphate from phosphonate compounds.

doi: 10.1038/nature14683


Conventional superconductivity at 203 kelvin at high pressures in the sulfur hydride system p.73

Conventional superconductivity is observed at 203 kelvin in the sulfur hydride system, well above the highest superconducting transition temperature obtained in the copper oxides, raising hopes that even higher transition temperatures will be discovered in other hydrogen-rich systems.

doi: 10.1038/nature14964

Negative refractive index and acoustic superlens from multiple scattering in single negative metamaterials p.77

A negative refractive index, a property that does not exist in natural materials, can be produced in so-called metamaterials by combining two building blocks; here it is shown that it is possible to design and fabricate a metamaterial with a negative refractive index that consists of only one type of building block by taking advantage of its crystalline structure, and this approach is demonstrated through an acoustic superlens.

doi: 10.1038/nature14678

Guiding the folding pathway of DNA origami p.82

Probing the assembly process that occurs when single-stranded DNA is folded into desired shapes by ‘DNA origami’ shows that it can be guided by controlling the strengths of local and long-range interactions, enabling more reproducible synthesis.

doi: 10.1038/nature14860

Alcohols as alkylating agents in heteroarene C–H functionalization p.87

The biochemical process of spin-centre shift is used to accomplish mild, non-traditional alkylation reactions using alcohols as radical precursors; this represents the first broadly applicable use of unactivated alcohols as latent alkylating reagents, achieved via the successful merger of photoredox and hydrogen atom transfer catalysis.

doi: 10.1038/nature14885

Global separation of plant transpiration from groundwater and streamflow p.91

Soil water is usually assumed to be equally available for all purposes, supplying plant transpiration as well as groundwater and streamflow; however, a study of hydrogen and oxygen isotopes from 47 globally distributed sites shows that in fact the water used by plants tends to be isotopically distinct from the water that feeds streamflow.

doi: 10.1038/nature14983

Broad plumes rooted at the base of the Earth's mantle beneath major hotspots p.95

A whole-mantle seismic imaging technique, combining accurate wavefield computations with information contained in whole seismic waveforms, is used to reveal the presence of broad conduits beneath many of Earth’s surface hotspots, supporting the idea that these conduits are the source of hotspot volcanoes.

doi: 10.1038/nature14876

Global exchange and accumulation of non-native plants p.100

A global database of alien plants, showing that over 13,000 species, nearly 4% of the global flora, have become naturalized in a new location.

doi: 10.1038/nature14910

Genetic evidence for two founding populations of the Americas p.104

Previous genetic studies have suggested that the Americas were peopled by a single founding population of Eurasian origin, but a genome-wide study of 30 Native American groups shows that Amazonian Native Americans also have a second source of ancestry that is deeply related to indigenous Australians, New Guineans and Andaman Islanders.

doi: 10.1038/nature14895

Mutations in DCHS1 cause mitral valve prolapse p.109

Two mutations in the gene DCHS1 are shown to cause non-syndromic mitral valve prolapse (MVP), a common cardiac valve disease; understanding the role of DCHS1 in mitral valve development and MVP pathogenesis holds therapeutic potential.

doi: 10.1038/nature14670

PIK3CAH1047R induces multipotency and multi-lineage mammary tumours p.114

PIK3CA mutations are associated with distinct types of human breast cancers but the cellular origin and mechanisms responsible for this heterogeneity were unclear; here, using a genetic approach in mice, the PIK3CAH1047R mutation is shown to induce multipotent stem-like cells and mammary tumours with different levels of malignancy depending on the cell of origin.

doi: 10.1038/nature14669

Reactivation of multipotency by oncogenic PIK3CA induces breast tumour heterogeneity p.119

PIK3CA mutations are associated with distinct types of human breast cancers but the cellular origin and mechanisms responsible for this heterogeneity were unclear; here, using a genetic approach in mice, PIK3CA mutations are shown to activate a genetic program directing multiple cell fates in normally lineage-restricted cell types.

doi: 10.1038/nature14665

Regulation of mitochondrial morphology and function by stearoylation of TFR1 p.124

Mitochondria have essential functions within cells, and their dysfunction is linked to various disorders; here, the fatty acid stearic acid (C18:0), which is a dietary component, and the transferrin receptor (TFR1) are shown to regulate mitochondrial function.

doi: 10.1038/nature14601

GGGGCC repeat expansion in C9orf72 compromises nucleocytoplasmic transport p.129

An unbiased genetic screen in Drosophila expressing G4C2-repeat-containing transcripts (repeats that in human cause pathogenesis in C9orf72-related neurological disease) finds genes that encode components of the nuclear pore and nucleocytoplasmic transport machinery, and reveals that G4C2 expanded-repeat-induced alterations in nucleocytoplasmic transport contribute to C9orf72 pathology and neurodegeneration.

doi: 10.1038/nature14974

Orientation-specific joining of AID-initiated DNA breaks promotes antibody class switching p.134

High-throughput genome-wide sequencing reveals why class switch recombination in the IgH locus, an essential step in the process of antibody generation, has a directional joining bias towards deletion rather than inversion.

doi: 10.1038/nature14970

A four-helix bundle stores copper for methane oxidation p.140

Csp1, a novel copper-binding protein that is exported from the cytosol of the methanotroph Methylosinus trichosporium OB3b and stores copper ions for particulate methane monooxygenase, is identified and characterized.

doi: 10.1038/nature14854

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