top ten research highlights

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


Neuroscience: Comparing the brains of humans and mice

Nature, August 22, 2019

An analysis that identifies 75 distinct cell types present in a region of the human cerebral cortex is presented in Nature this week. By comparing these data to those from an analogous region of the mouse brain, the study reveals similarities in their architecture and cell types - but also extensive differences. The findings emphasize the importance of studying the human brain directly, in addi...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1506-7

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Cancer: Permanent chemotherapy-induced hair loss modelled

Nature Communications, August 28, 2019

A mechanism responsible for permanent hair loss as a result of chemotherapy is reported in Nature Communications this week. Using human hair follicles in a mouse model, the paper identifies chemotherapy-induced changes in hair follicle stem cells, which can lead to permanent hair loss.

Hair follicles, like many adult stem cell types, maintain a pool of cells for regeneration and can...

doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-11665-0

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Microbiology: Atacama Desert microbes may hold clues to life on Mars

Scientific Reports, August 23, 2019

Microbial life on Mars may potentially be transported across the planet on dust particles carried by wind, according to a study conducted in the Atacama Desert in North Chile, a well-known Mars analogue. The findings are published in Scientific Reports.

Armando Azua-Bustos and colleagues investigated whether microbial life could move across the Atacama Desert on wind-driven dust parti...

doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-47394-z

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Evolution: Ancient teeth shed light on Miocene ‘mouse’ migration

Scientific Reports, August 30, 2019

The largest subfamily of mammals, Murinae, i...

doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-47894-y

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Healthy lifestyle linked with lower dementia risk

Nature Medicine, August 27, 2019

Modifying health and lifestyle factors may lower the risk of dementia for individuals already genetically predisposed to low or intermediate dementia risk, according to a study published this week in Nature Medicine.

The exact causes of dementia remain unclear, but both genetic and lifestyle factors - such as a lack of regular exercise - are considered to be the main drivers of this ...

doi: 10.1038/s41591-019-0547-7

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Fossils: Coming face to face with Australopithecus anamensis

Nature, August 29, 2019

A nearly complete 3.8-million-year-old hominin skull discovered in Ethiopia is described in two papers published in Nature this week. The skull, which the authors assign to the species Australopithecus anamensis, provides new insights into the earliest australopiths and their origins.

The earliest members of the hominin genus Australopithecus have remained poorly understood, owing to ...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1513-8

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Evolution: Humans may have had key role in cave bear extinction

Scientific Reports, August 16, 2019

Humans may have played a substantial role in the extinction of the European cave bear at the end of the last ice age, according to a study published in Scientific Reports. The findings suggest a drastic cave bear population decline starting around 40,000 years ago, which predated climate cooling and coincided with the spread of anatomically modern humans in Europe.

Verena Schuenemann,...

doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-47073-z

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Hurricanes aid aggressive spiders

Nature Ecology & Evolution, August 20, 2019

Aggressive spider colonies have higher rates of survival and reproduction following tropical cyclones than more docile colonies, finds a study published online this week in Nature Ecology & Evolution. The research suggests that extreme events could play a role in shaping animal behaviours.

Tropical cyclones create large-scale disturbances to natural habitats. However, studying the eco...

doi: 10.1038/s41559-019-0951-x

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Archaeology: Insights into the mystery of Skeleton Lake

Nature Communications, August 21, 2019

An analysis of DNA extracted from 38 skeletons dating from 800-1800 CE from Roopkund Lake (colloquially known as Skeleton Lake), in India, identifies three groups of individuals with different ancestries, reports a study in Nature Communications. The skeletons were deposited during multiple events, separated in time by approximately 1,000 years and include 14 individuals with ancestry typical o...

doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-11357-9

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Evolution: A virtual skull of modern humans’ last common ancestor

Nature Communications, September 11, 2019

A virtual model of the skull of the possible last common ancestor of all modern humans is presented in Nature Communications this week. The findings may provide insights into the complex evolution of Homo sapiens.

Aurelien Mounier and Marta Mirazon Lahr studied 263 skulls, representing 21 current human populations and five fossil hominin populations, using a phylogenetic modelling m...

doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-11213-w

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