Volume 508 Issue 7497


A toxic legacy p.431

Illegal dumping of toxic waste in the Italian Campania has been blamed for high rates of ill health in the region. The suspected link needs to be investigated using the most modern methods.

doi: 10.1038/508431a

Take care p.432

The United States must tread carefully when building a health-data system.

doi: 10.1038/508432b

A question of trust p.432

NASA’s decision to renege on SOFIA project casts doubts over its reliability as a partner.

doi: 10.1038/508432a


News Features

Designer reefs p.444

Biologists are directing the evolution of corals to prepare them to fight climate change.

doi: 10.1038/508444a

Biofuels heat up p.448

A new generation of industrial plants can make liquid fuels from almost any organic scraps — from corn stalks and wood chips to urban rubbish.

doi: 10.1038/508448a

News & Views

Catalysis at the boundaries p.460

Copper-based materials have been found that efficiently convert carbon monoxide and water to ethanol using electricity. The discovery is a major advance towards storing renewable energy in the form of a liquid fuel. See Letter p.504

doi: 10.1038/nature13226

Do you hear what I see? p.461

Researchers have found evidence that the representation of auditory and tactile information in the brains of blind people shows strong similarities to the way in which visual information is represented in sighted people.

doi: 10.1038/508461a

Nibbled to death p.462

Trogocytosis, a process in which one cell 'takes a bite' out of another, had previously been seen only in immune cells. But the phenomenon has now been found in Entamoeba histolytica, as a way for this parasite to kill host cells. See Letter p.526

doi: 10.1038/nature13223

The vital Y chromosome p.463

Comparisons of Y-chromosome sequences in various mammals reveal abundant gene loss early in the chromosome's evolution but remarkable gene stability across the Y chromosomes of extant species. See Articles p.488 & p.494

doi: 10.1038/508463a

Sea levels from ancient seashells p.465

The isotopic composition of oxygen in sea water correlates with changes in global mean sea level. Microfossils carrying oxygen-isotope signals have been used to extend sea-level records as far back as 5 million years ago. See Article p.477

doi: 10.1038/nature13328

Sperm protein finds its mate p.466

Knowledge of the sperm-specific protein that is required for the attachment of sperm to eggs during fertilization in mammals has led to the identification of the protein's receptor on the egg's plasma membrane. See Article p.483

doi: 10.1038/nature13227


Guidelines for investigating causality of sequence variants in human disease OPEN p.469

Acceleration in discovery of rare genetic variants possibly linked with disease may mean an increased risk of false-positive reports of causality; this Perspective proposes guidelines to distinguish disease-causing sequence variants from the many potentially functional variants in a human genome, and to assess confidence in their pathogenicity, and highlights priority areas for development.

doi: 10.1038/nature13127


Sea-level and deep-sea-temperature variability over the past 5.3 million years p.477

A novel approach to the estimation of sea level and deep-sea temperature has been used to determine these quantities over the past 5.3 million years; this approach, based on oxygen isotope records from the eastern Mediterranean, shows that temperature and sea-level histories are broadly correlated but also show intriguing temporal offsets.

doi: 10.1038/nature13230

Mammalian Y chromosomes retain widely expressed dosage-sensitive regulators p.494

A study comparing the Y chromosome across mammalian species reveals that selection to maintain the ancestral dosage of homologous X–Y gene pairs preserved a handful of genes on the Y chromosome while the rest were lost; the survival of broadly expressed dosage-sensitive regulators of gene expression suggest that the human Y chromosome is essential for male viability.

doi: 10.1038/nature13206


Plate tectonics, damage and inheritance p.513

Lithospheric damage, combined with transient mantle flow and migrating proto-subduction, is proposed to explain the apparent emergence of plate tectonics three billion years ago; modelling confirms that tectonic plate boundaries and fully formed tectonic plates can arise under conditions characteristic of Earth but not of Venus.

doi: 10.1038/nature13072

Trogocytosis by Entamoeba histolytica contributes to cell killing and tissue invasion p.526

Entamoeba histolytic, the causative agent of fatal diarrhoeal disease in children in the developing world, is shown here to kill human cells by biting off and ingesting pieces of cells, in a process reminiscent of the trogocytosis seen between immune cells; ingestion of bites is required for killing and this mechanism is used both in tissue culture and during invasion of intestinal explants.

doi: 10.1038/nature13242

Nectar secretion requires sucrose phosphate synthases and the sugar transporter SWEET9 p.546

Although nectar is known to be important, for example in plant–insect interactions, little has been known about the mechanism of its secretion; sucrose phosphate synthases are now reported to be essential for the synthesis of the sucrose component of nectar and the transporter protein SWEET9 is shown to mediate sucrose export into the extracellular space of the nectary.

doi: 10.1038/nature13082