Volume 537 Number 7618


Threat to African forest elephants p.7

Analysis highlights the risk faced by a newly distinct species.

doi: 10.1038/537007b

Don’t redirect Ebola cash to Zika vaccines p.7

The US government should not focus funds on the Zika virus at the expense of other health priorities.

doi: 10.1038/537007a


Italian scientists shocked by earthquake devastation p.15

In a region known to be seismically active, destruction on this scale was still a surprise.

doi: 10.1038/537015a

Nuclear power plants prepare for old age p.16

Materials research is at the heart of efforts to keep the world’s reactors running well past 2050.

doi: 10.1038/537016a

Print your own 3D Lucy to work out how the famous hominin died p.19

Digital scans will help researchers test whether she fell out of a tree.

doi: 10.1038/537019a

Majority of mathematicians hail from just 24 scientific ‘families’ p.20

Evolution of mathematics traced using unusually comprehensive genealogy database.

doi: 10.1038/nature.2016.20491

News Features

How DNA could store all the world’s data p.22

Modern archiving technology cannot keep up with the growing tsunami of bits. But nature may hold an answer to that problem already.

doi: 10.1038/537022a

Vipers, mambas and taipans: the escalating health crisis over snakebites p.26

Snakes kill tens of thousands of people each year. But experts can't agree on how best to overcome a desperate shortage of antivenom.

doi: 10.1038/537026a

News & Views

Alzheimer's disease: Attack on amyloid-β protein p.36

An antibody therapy markedly reduces aggregates of amyloid-β, the hallmark protein of Alzheimer's disease, and might slow cognitive decline in patients. Confirmation of a cognitive benefit would be a game-changer. See Article p.50

doi: 10.1038/537036a

Planetary science: Cometary dust under the microscope p.37

The Rosetta spacecraft made history by successfully orbiting a comet. Data from the craft now reveal the structure of the comet's dust particles, shedding light on the processes that form planetary systems. See Letter p.73

doi: 10.1038/537037a

Structural biology: Moulding the ribosome p.38

Production of the cell's translational apparatus, the ribosome, requires the orchestrated function of hundreds of proteins. A structure of its earliest precursor yields unprecedented insight into ribosome formation.

doi: 10.1038/537038a

Climate science: Southern Ocean freshened by sea ice p.40

The Southern Ocean has become less salty during the past few decades. An analysis of sea-ice transport in the ocean suggests that this phenomenon can be explained by coupled changes in sea-ice drift and thickness. See Letter p.89

doi: 10.1038/537040a

Ecology: More is less p.42

doi: 10.1038/537042a

Cancer: Suffocation of gene expression p.42

If a tumour outgrows its blood supply, oxygen levels in its cells decrease. It emerges that this change can alter gene expression by limiting the activity of TET enzymes, which remove methyl groups from DNA. See Article p.63

doi: 10.1038/nature19426

Ancient DNA: Muddy messages about American migration p.43

When and by which paths did early humans migrate into America? An analysis of ancient plant and animal remains revises the timeframe during which a route may have opened between ice sheets in northwest America. See Article p.45

doi: 10.1038/nature19421


Postglacial viability and colonization in North America’s ice-free corridor p.45

During much of the last ice age, continental ice sheets prevented humans from migrating into North America from Siberia; an environmental reconstruction of the corridor that opened up between the Cordilleran and Laurentide ice sheets reveals that it would have been inhospitable to the initial colonizing humans, who therefore probably entered North America by a different route.

doi: 10.1038/nature19085

The antibody aducanumab reduces Aβ plaques in Alzheimer’s disease p.50

Aducanumab, a human monoclonal antibody that selectively targets aggregated Aβ, reduces soluble and insoluble Aβ in the brain, an action accompanied by a dose-dependent slowing of clinical decline in treated patients.

doi: 10.1038/nature19323

A developmental coordinate of pluripotency among mice, monkeys and humans p.57

Using a single-cell sequencing analysis in monkey embryos, and comparing the genes expressed during early development in this species with those in mice and in human pluripotent stem cells, the authors define characteristics of pluripotency ontogeny across mammalian species.

doi: 10.1038/nature19096

Tumour hypoxia causes DNA hypermethylation by reducing TET activity p.63

Hypoxia in solid tumours reduces the expression of tumour suppressor genes through an epigenetic mechanism.

doi: 10.1038/nature19081


A combined transmission spectrum of the Earth-sized exoplanets TRAPPIST-1 b and c p.69

Recently, temperate Earth-sized planets were discovered around the nearby star TRAPPIST-1; now, preliminary transmission spectra observations of the two inner planets by the Hubble Space Telescope suggest that these planets do not have a hydrogen-dominated atmosphere and are thus terrestrial, their atmospheric type still to be determined.

doi: 10.1038/nature18641

Aggregate dust particles at comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko p.73

In situ measurements of dust particles at comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko confirm that the particles are aggregates of smaller, elongated grains even at the smallest sizes examined.

doi: 10.1038/nature19091

Dynamically encircling an exceptional point for asymmetric mode switching p.76

A two-mode waveguide is designed to realize a dynamical encircling of an exceptional point at which two resonances coincide in their frequency and their rate of decay; as a result the waveguide transmits only into a unique mode at either one of its two output ports.

doi: 10.1038/nature18605

Topological energy transfer in an optomechanical system with exceptional points p.80

The transfer of energy between two vibrational modes of an optomechanical device is achieved using topological operations; the key to this transfer is the existence of an exceptional point in the complex spectrum of the device.

doi: 10.1038/nature18604

Ablation-cooled material removal with ultrafast bursts of pulses p.84

Ablation cooling is demonstrated as an effective means of removing material using successive bursts of laser pulses with short intraburst delay times; the technique allows the overall pulse energy to be decreased, overcoming negative thermal effects during the ablation process.

doi: 10.1038/nature18619

Sea-ice transport driving Southern Ocean salinity and its recent trends p.89

Multiple lines of evidence indicate that the northward transport of sea ice from Antarctica can explain the bulk of the observed freshening in the Southern Ocean.

doi: 10.1038/nature19101

Addition of multiple limiting resources reduces grassland diversity p.93

Analysis of multi-year nutrient enrichment experiments carried out on 45 global grassland sites show that an addition of an increasing number of nutrients leads to a reduction in plant species diversity, and competition for multiple below-ground resources promotes plant species diversity.

doi: 10.1038/nature19324

Serotonin engages an anxiety and fear-promoting circuit in the extended amygdala p.97

A brain circuit is identified through which serotonin induces an anxiety-like state; this circuit also mediates the anxiety-like behaviour induced by acute administration of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor fluoxetine and may underlie the early adverse events that some patients with anxiety disorders have to these types of drugs.

doi: 10.1038/nature19318

HER2 expression identifies dynamic functional states within circulating breast cancer cells p.102

Patient-derived circulating tumour cells are used to characterize the dynamics and underlying plasticity of HER2 expression in non-HER2-amplified breast tumours.

doi: 10.1038/nature19328

An endosomal tether undergoes an entropic collapse to bring vesicles together p.107

A new endosomal tethering mechanism involving a mechanochemical cycle of the dimeric coiled-coil protein EEA1 regulated by Rab5:GTP binding and GTP hydrolysis.

doi: 10.1038/nature19326

Small molecule stabilization of the KSR inactive state antagonizes oncogenic Ras signalling p.112

A class of small molecules that stabilize a previously unrecognized inactive state of KSR is reported; the agonists synergize with MEK inhibitors to prevent growth of Ras mutant cell lines.

doi: 10.1038/nature19327

Structural basis for inhibition of a voltage-gated Ca2+ channel by Ca2+ antagonist drugs p.117

Calcium channel blockers are widely used to treat cardiovascular diseases; new structural studies uncover how two different types of calcium-channel blockers bind to the channel; the drugs bind in different locations, revealing different mechanisms of drug action.

doi: 10.1038/nature19102

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