The criticism of Europe’s Human Brain Project by leading scientists reflects a messy management structure that is in urgent need of clear direction.
A possible link between neonicotinoid pesticide use and a decline in bird numbers is worrying.
An outbreak of Ebola highlights the difficulties of implementing public-health measures.
Changes in scope and focus of European project anger factions of neuroscience community.
But ecologists worry that fast turnaround will do nothing to improve quality of assessments.
Seismic project aims to reveal plumbing of Mount St Helens.
Firms fight for the right to patent natural products and processes.
As a much-hailed breakthrough in stem-cell science unravelled this year, many have been asking: ‘Where were the safeguards?’
From dogs to balloons, researchers are using unorthodox ways to find out where malaria vectors hide during a long dry season.
News & Views
A model of the transmission and spread of bovine tuberculosis in Britain suggests that controlling the epidemic will require large-scale cattle slaughter or a major rethink of combined control strategies. See Letter p.228
Materials that rapidly switch between amorphous and crystalline states are widely used to manage heat and store data. They now emerge as promising building blocks for ultrahigh-resolution display devices. See Letter p.206
There are two methods for reprogramming mature cells to pluripotent stem cells, which can give rise to all cells of the body. The first direct comparison of the methods reveals that both can cause subtle molecular defects. See Article p.177
NMDA receptors are crucial in the workings of the brain and in its disorders. Two structures of almost complete receptors reveal the intricate complexity of these large, multi-domain molecular machines. See Article p.191
Lack of dissolved iron in the sea limits biological productivity and the uptake of carbon dioxide. The sources of dissolved iron in the North Atlantic Ocean have been identified from isotopic variations of this trace nutrient. See Letter p.212
An experiment studying people's willingness to sacrifice personal gains so that resources are passed to future generations shows that this occurs only when extractions by free-riders are curbed by majority rule. See Letter p.220
Cancer cells have been at the centre of cell metabolism research, but the metabolism of stromal and immune cells has received less attention. Nonetheless, these cells influence the progression of malignant, inflammatory and metabolic disorders. Here we discuss the metabolic adaptations of stromal and immune cells in health and disease, and highlight how metabolism determines their differentiation and function.
Genome-wide analysis of matched human IVF embryonic stem cells (IVF ES cells), induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) and nuclear transfer ES cells (NT ES cells) derived by somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) reveals that human somatic cells can be faithfully reprogrammed to pluripotency by SCNT; NT ES cells and iPS cells derived from the same somatic cells contain comparable numbers of de novo copy number variations, but whereas DNA methylation and transcriptome profiles of NT ES cells and IVF ES cells are similar, iPS cells have residual patterns typical of parental somatic cells.
Initial exposure to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induces endotoxin tolerance, which reduces immunological reactions to LPS; here it is shown that primary LPS challenge is controlled by AhR, TDO2 and IL-10, whereas sustained effects require AhR, IDO1 and TGF-β, allowing for disease tolerance with reduced immunopathology in infections.
X-ray crystal structures are presented of the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, a calcium-permeable ion channel that opens upon binding of glutamate and glycine; glutamate is a key excitatory neurotransmitter and enhanced structural insight of this receptor may aid development of therapeutic small molecules.
Trapped ions are used to determine the speed of propagation of correlations and the causal region to which they are confined in quantum many-body systems with medium- and long-range spin interactions.
The fine control afforded by trapped atomic ions is used to explore experimentally how the range of interactions between the ions influences the spreading of information in quantum many-body systems.
Here stable colour changes induced by solid-state electrical switching of ultrathin films of a germanium–antimony–telluride alloy are demonstrated, adding to its established uses in data storage; possible applications include flexible and transparent displays.
A high-resolution oceanic section of dissolved iron stable isotope ratios reveals that the primary source of dissolved iron to the North Atlantic is atmospheric dust, while seafloor sediments and submarine volcanic vents also contribute significantly.
Climate modelling is used to show that for cities across North America, geographic variations in daytime urban heat islands—that is, the temperature differences between urban and adjacent rural areas—are largely explained by variations in the efficiency with which those areas convect heat to the lower atmosphere.
An intergenerational cooperation game has been developed to study decision-making regarding resource use: when decisions about resource extraction were made individually the resource was rapidly depleted by a minority of defectors; the resource was sustainably maintained across generations, however, when decisions were made democratically by voting.
The fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis has been implicated in the decline of a large number of amphibian species; here it is shown that frogs can learn to avoid the pathogen, acquire resistance to it and be immunized against it using dead pathogen, findings that potentially offer a way in which resistant populations could be reintroduced into areas that have seen catastrophic declines.
Bovine tuberculosis is a major economic burden on the cattle industry, and attempts to control it have been politically controversial; here farm movement and bovine tuberculosis incidence data are used to construct a mechanistic model and tease apart the factors contributing to epidemic bovine tuberculosis spread.
The formation of a new species can occur by an asexual mechanism by transfer of entire nuclear genomes between plant cells as shown by the creation of a new allopolyploid plant from parental herbaceous and woody plant species, this mechanism is a potential new tool for crop improvement.
The molecular relationship between synaptic dysfunction and psychiatric disorders was investigated using a mouse model system; presynaptically localized Cntnap4 is required for the output of two disease-relevant neuronal subpopulations (cortical parvalbumin-positive GABAergic cells and midbrain dopaminergic neurons) and Cntnap4 mutants show behavioural abnormalities which can be pharmacologically reversed.
Intracranial germ cell tumours are rare tumours affecting mainly male adolescents, mainly in Asia; here the authors identify frequent mutations in the KIT/RAS and AKT/mTOR signalling pathways as well as rare germline variants in JMJD1C, suggesting potential therapeutic strategies focusing on the inhibition of KIT/RAS activation and the AKT1/mTOR pathway.
Here, in a mouse model of skin squamous cell carcinoma, a key role is demonstrated for the transcription factor SOX2 in the initiation and progression of skin tumours.
Srs2 helicase is known to dismantle nucleofilaments of Rad51 recombinase to prevent spurious recombination events and unwind trinucleotide sequences that are prone to hairpin formation. Here we document a new, unexpected genome maintenance role of Srs2 in the suppression of mutations arising from mis-insertion of ribonucleoside monophosphates during DNA replication. In cells lacking RNase H2, Srs2 unwinds DNA from the 5′ side of a nick generated by DNA topoisomerase I at a ribonucleoside monophosphate residue. In addition, Srs2 interacts with and enhances the activity of the nuclease Exo1, to generate a DNA gap in preparation for repair. Srs2–Exo1 thus functions in a new pathway of nick processing-gap filling that mediates tolerance of ribonucleoside monophosphates in the genome. Our results have implications for understanding the basis of Aicardi–Goutières syndrome, which stems from inactivation of the human RNase H2 complex.