top ten research highlights

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


Nanoscience: Mimicking the human eye

Nature, May 21, 2020

An artificial eye that mimics the structure of the human eye is described in Nature this week. The biomimetic eye has the potential to achieve high image resolution that could have applications in robotics and scientific instruments.

Human eyes have a wide field of view, excellent resolution and are highly sensitive to light, all as a result of the domed shape of the retina an...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2285-x

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Machine learning: Model identifies three biomarkers associated with COVID-19 mortality

Nature Machine Intelligence, May 15, 2020

Machine learning tools selected three biomarkers — lactic dehydrogenase, lymphocyte and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein levels — that can predict the mortality of COVID-19 patients from blood samples from 485 infected individuals in Wuhan, China, according to paper published in Nature Machine Intelligence. These tools predicted the mortality of individual patients more than ten d...

doi: 10.1038/s42256-020-0180-7

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Microbiology: Statins linked with altered gut microbiota in obesity

Nature, May 7, 2020

According to a cross-sectional analysis in Nature this week, a potentially dysfunctional gut microbiota configuration known as Bact2 is more common in people with obesity. The observational study also finds that the prevalence of Bact2 is lower in individuals with obesity who are taking statin drugs. Further studies, including prospective clinical trials, are now needed to determine the...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2269-x

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Evolution: Evidence for the earliest modern humans in Europe

Nature Ecology & Evolution, May 12, 2020

The discovery and dating of early modern human remains and associated artefacts from a cave in southeastern Europe is reported in two studies published in Nature and Nature Ecology & Evolution this week. The fossil hominins represent the oldest known instance of Upper Paleolithic Homo sapiens.

Modern humans (H. sapiens) entered Europe by around 45,000 years ago and soon after...

doi: 10.1038/s41559-020-1136-3

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Planetary science: How mud might flow on Mars

Nature Geoscience, May 19, 2020

The behaviour of mud flows under the low pressures and low temperatures of the Martian surface may be similar to lava flows on Earth, according to a study published online in Nature Geoscience.

Thousands of volcano-like landforms associated with lava-like flows dot the surface of Mars. Some have been attributed to magmatic volcanism. These landforms occur in terrains covered by...

doi: 10.1038/s41561-020-0577-2

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Synthetic biology: Rapid reconstruction of SARS-CoV-2 for research purposes

Nature, May 5, 2020

A rapid method for producing a synthetic version of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 respiratory disease, is described in Nature today. Recreation of emerging viruses can help researchers to develop diagnostics, treatments and vaccines.

Reconstructing viruses in the laboratory is a useful tool for studying pathogens implicated in disease outbreaks. When outbrea...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2294-9

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Immunology: Antibody from a patient recovered from SARS inhibits SARS-CoV-2

Nature, May 19, 2020

An antibody isolated from a patient who has recovered from SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) is shown to effectively block SARS-CoV-2 infectivity. This finding is reported in Nature today. Antibodies that can neutralize the virus could help in the development of anti-viral treatments or vaccines.

Antibodies are produced by the immune system in response to foreign mater...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2349-y

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Archaeology: Fossilized footprints suggest ancient humans divided labour

Scientific Reports, May 15, 2020

The largest collection of footprints from the human fossil record in Africa to date is described in Scientific Reports this week. The findings, which further our understanding of human life during the Late Pleistocene period (126,000 to 11,700 years ago), suggest a division of labour in ancient human communities.

Kevin Hatala and colleagues uncovered 408 human footprints in En...

doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-64095-0

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Climate change: Protecting against flood damage in Europe

Nature Communications, May 6, 2020

At least 83% of projected flood damage in Europe as a result of rising sea levels could be avoided by elevating dykes along approximately a third of Europe’s coastline, suggests a study in Nature Communications.

More than 200 million people live within 50km of the European coast, which stretches from the North-East Atlantic and the Baltic to the Mediterranean and Black Sea....

doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-15665-3

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Human behaviour: Mapping online vaccination sentiment

Nature, May 14, 2020

Interactions on social media between pro-, neutral and anti-vaccination views and how they may influence each other are mapped in a study published online in Nature this week. The research provides insights into how distrust in scientific expertise on vaccines can evolve in online communities.

Neil Johnson and colleagues used information from Facebook to map vaccination opinio...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2281-1

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