top ten research highlights

The following highlights are the top ten most viewed research highlights on the English website of during the past month.


Ageing: Measuring ageing in naked mole rats

Nature Aging, December 24, 2021

The naked mole rat — an exceptionally long-lived rodent that outwardly seems to defy ageing — does age on the molecular level, as measured by epigenetic changes, according to a new study in Nature Aging.

Naked mole rats (Heterocephalus glaber) have exceptional longevity for rodents of their size — with a maximum lifespan of 37 years — and are resistant to age-rel...

doi: 10.1038/s43587-021-00152-1

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Anthropology: Family matters in an Early Neolithic tomb

Nature, December 23, 2021

A detailed genetic analysis of 35 individuals interred in a Neolithic tomb in Gloucestershire, England about 5,700 years ago offers new insights into the kinship rules that governed this ancient society. The study, published this week in Nature, hints at a possibly polygamous society in which adoption may have occurred, and paternal and maternal lines of descent were both important.


doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-04241-4

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Genetics: Mass migration into Britain during the Bronze Age

Nature, December 23, 2021

A previously unrecognized, large-scale migration from continental Europe into Great Britain during the Middle to Late Bronze Age may have facilitated the spread of early Celtic languages. This finding, reported in Nature, helps to explain the genetic makeup of people living in Britain today. The study also highlights differences in the frequency of an allele associated with lactose toler...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-04287-4

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Genetics: Origin of European wine grapes

Nature Communications, December 22, 2021

European wine grapes may have originated from the hybridization of western Asian-domesticated table grapes and local wild relatives, suggests a paper published in Nature Communications. The findings reveal insights into the history and genetic ancestry of European wine grapes.

Grapes have been cultivated for nearly four millennia in the eastern Mediterranean and two millennia i...

doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-27487-y

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Climate change: Top five greenhouse gas emitters set to exacerbate regional heat extremes

Communications Earth & Environment, January 7, 2022

Greenhouse gas emissions from the top five contributors – China, the US, the European Union, India and Russia – are expected to increase the probability of extreme hot years by 2030, according to a modelling study published online in Communications Earth & Environment. Under current climate change mitigation pledges, emissions from these regions could double the number of countri...

doi: 10.1038/s43247-021-00320-6

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Archaeology: More precise age for earliest known human fossils from Ethiopia estimated

Nature, January 13, 2022

The remains of the Kibish Omo I from Ethiopia — among the oldest known fossils of Homo sapiens in eastern Africa — could be at least 36,000 years older than previously thought, according to a paper published in Nature. The minimum age is estimated to be approximately 233,000 years old, a timescale that aligns more consistently with models of modern human evolution.

The Omo ...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-04275-8

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Environment: Long-distance movement of microplastics

Nature Communications, December 22, 2021

Microplastics, detected in southern France, could have been transported over 4,500 km from their source, including over continents and oceans, suggests a study published in Nature Communications. The findings suggest that microplastic pollution can spread globally from its sources to remote regions.

Plastic pollution has been documented at high elevations and latitudes, and in ...

doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-27454-7

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Archaeology: Viking expansion associated with trading

Nature, December 23, 2021

The precise dating of artefacts from an early medieval trading emporium in Denmark charts the expansion of long-distance trade as far as Arctic Norway and the Middle East at the beginning of the Viking Age, reports a paper in Nature this week. The arrival of Middle Eastern beads and the production of Berdal-style brooches in Viking Scandinavia has been precisely dated to AD 785–810. Th...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-04240-5

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Conservation: Almost 17 million vertebrates killed in the 2020 wildfires in Brazil

Scientific Reports, December 17, 2021

The 2020 wildfires in the Pantanal wetland, Brazil, caused the immediate death of potentially 16.9 million vertebrates, including lizards, birds and primates, reports a study published in Scientific Reports.

The wildfires in the Pantanal wetland burned between January and November 2020 causing huge damage to the world’s largest tropical wetland. Walfrido Moraes Tomas, Ronaldo...

doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-02844-5

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Astronomy: First look at Ryugu sample

Nature Astronomy, December 21, 2021

An analysis of the first material brought back to Earth from a carbon-rich asteroid — Ryugu — is presented in two papers published in Nature Astronomy. Carbon-rich asteroids can provide clues about the early history of the Solar System and on the formation of organic and hydrated minerals — the building blocks of life.

Ryugu is a carbon-rich, diamond-shaped, near-Earth as...

doi: 10.1038/s41550-021-01550-6

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