Volume 531 Issue 7594


Africa’s elite p.275

A new forum promises to bring deserved prestige to outstanding African researchers, and demonstrates the continent’s untapped potential.

doi: 10.1038/531275a

Metropolis now p.275

Growing urbanization is heralding a new era of science in the city.

doi: 10.1038/531275b

Practical DNA p.276

The promise of DNA origami shows signs of coming to fruition a decade after its debut.

doi: 10.1038/531276a


News Features

News & Views

How crystals get an edge p.308

Microscopy reveals how nanowires of a widely used semiconductor grow during preparation. The findings will allow the crystal phases of such nanowires to be engineered — a crucial advance for materials science. See Article p.317

doi: 10.1038/531308a

Visionary stem-cell therapies p.309

Stem-cell engineering has allowed successful cornea transplantations in rabbits and the regeneration of transparent lens tissue in children, demonstrating the therapeutic potential of this approach. See Article p.323 & Letter p.376

doi: 10.1038/nature17305

China’s contribution to climate change p.310

Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil-fuel use in China have grown dramatically in the past few decades, yet it emerges that the country's relative contribution to global climate change has remained surprisingly constant. See Letter p.357

doi: 10.1038/531310a

Swimmers by design p.312

Scientists have created soft microrobots whose body shapes can be controlled by structured light, and which self-propel by means of travelling-wave body deformations similar to those exhibited by swimming protozoa.

doi: 10.1038/531312a

The X-Files of hepatitis B p.313

The HBx protein of hepatitis B virus has been found to co-opt a host-cell enzyme that targets the Smc5/6 protein complex for degradation. The finding identifies Smc5/6 as a cellular antiviral factor. See Letter p.386

doi: 10.1038/531313a

Turning back time p.314

An in situ experiment finds that reducing the acidity of the seawater surrounding a natural coral reef significantly increases reef calcification, suggesting that ocean acidification may already be slowing coral growth. See Letter p.362

doi: 10.1038/nature17302



Late Tharsis formation and implications for early Mars p.344

By calculating the rotational figure of Mars and its surface topography before the Tharsis volcanic region caused true polar wander, it is shown that Tharsis formed during the Noachian and Hesperian periods at about the same time as the valley networks; early Mars climate simulations suggest icy precipitation in a latitudinal band in the southern hemisphere.

doi: 10.1038/nature17171

Enhancing coherence in molecular spin qubits via atomic clock transitions p.348

Magnetic molecules are candidates for solid-state spin qubits from which a quantum computer might be constructed, but the magnetic interactions between such molecules typically lead to unwanted decoherence; now magnetic molecules have been designed in such a way that their spin dynamics are energetically protected against the decoherence-inducing interactions.

doi: 10.1038/nature16984

The contribution of China’s emissions to global climate forcing p.357

Using a global coupled biogeochemistry–climate model and a chemistry and transport model reveals that China’s present-day global radiative forcing is about ten per cent of the current global total, made up of both warming and cooling contributions; if in the future China reduces the cooling forcings, global warming could accelerate.

doi: 10.1038/nature17165

Sensory experience regulates cortical inhibition by inducing IGF1 in VIP neurons p.371

Igf1 is identified in mice as an experience-induced gene that functions cell-autonomously to increase inhibitory input onto a disinhibitory subtype of GABAergic neurons in the cortex, affecting the downstream excitation–inhibition balance within circuits that regulate visual acuity, and providing a novel example of experience modulating neural plasticity.

doi: 10.1038/nature17187

Co-ordinated ocular development from human iPS cells and recovery of corneal function p.376

A protocol has been developed to use human induced pluripotent stem cells to obtain a self-formed ectodermal autonomous multizone, which includes distinct cell lineages of the eye, including the ocular surface ectoderm, lens, neuro-retina, and retinal pigment epithelium that can be expanded to form a functional corneal epithelium when transplanted to an animal model of corneal visual impairment.

doi: 10.1038/nature17000

Therapeutic efficacy of the small molecule GS-5734 against Ebola virus in rhesus monkeys p.381

The discovery is reported of a small molecule drug, GS-5734, which has antiviral activity against Ebola virus and other filoviruses, and is capable of providing post-exposure therapeutic protection against lethal disease in 100% of drug-treated nonhuman primates infected with Ebola virus; the drug targets viral RNA polymerase and can distribute to sanctuary sites (such as testes, eyes and brain), suggesting that it may be able to clear persistent virus infection.

doi: 10.1038/nature17180

Sequence-dependent but not sequence-specific piRNA adhesion traps mRNAs to the germ plasm p.390

Maternal mRNAs are tethered within the Drosophila germ plasm via base-pairing interactions between mRNAs and piRNPs containing the Aub Piwi protein; the preference for certain mRNAs to be tethered appears to be related to their longer length, which provides more potential piRNP-binding sites, and the results suggest a new role for piRNAs in germ-cell specification independent of their role in transposon silencing.

doi: 10.1038/nature17150