Volume 495 Number 7439



Science for all p.5

Many women are deterred from pursuing a career in science at the highest levels. Much more must be done to address the reasons behind this potential waste of human talent.

doi: 10.1038/495005a



Tsunami triggers invasion concerns p.13

Biologists track species on flotsam from Japan to US shores.

doi: 10.1038/495013a


ESA’s climate-eye dilemma p.15

Scientists face difficult choice for Europe’s next Earth-observation mission.

doi: 10.1038/495015a


The death of the Chebarkul meteor p.16

Scientists reconstruct a battered traveller’s final moments.

doi: 10.1038/495016a


Metal oxide chips show promise p.17

Materials that flip from insulator to conductor could make energy-efficient transistors.

doi: 10.1038/495017a


Commercial space race heats up p.18

Antares test could challenge dominance of Falcon 9 rocket.

doi: 10.1038/495018a


Behind the scenes of a brain-mapping moon shot p.19

Critics fear that a proposed megaproject could crowd out other biological research.

doi: 10.1038/495019a

News Features


Women in science: Women's work p.21


doi: 10.1038/495021a


Inequality quantified: Mind the gender gap p.22


doi: 10.1038/495022a


Women in biotechnology: Barred from the boardroom p.25


doi: 10.1038/495025a


From the frontline: 30 something science p.28


doi: 10.1038/495028a

News & Views


Biotechnology: Rewriting a genome p.50


doi: 10.1038/495050a


Astrophysics: An accurate distance to the nearest galaxy p.51


doi: 10.1038/495051a


Stem Cells: A unifying theory for the crypt p.53


doi: 10.1038/nature11958


Catalysis: A step closer to a methanol economy p.54


doi: 10.1038/nature11955


Neuroscience: The units of a song p.56


doi: 10.1038/nature11957


Cell biology: A fable of too much too fast p.57


doi: 10.1038/nature11952



Elemental gesture dynamics are encoded by song premotor cortical neurons p.59

The auditory response of song premotor HVC neurons in sleeping birds, and HVC activity in singing birds, is synchronized with particular moments of vocal motor movements as defined by a dynamical systems model of song production; this HVC activity could be used as a ‘forward’ model to predict behaviour and evaluate feedback.

doi: 10.1038/nature11967


Intestinal label-retaining cells are secretory precursors expressing Lgr5 p.65

A new method to trace the lineage of slow cycling label-retaining cells (LRCs) in vivo identifies a population of LRCs that have features of committed Paneth cells but still express stem-cell markers such as Lgr5; the slow cycling cells differentiate into Paneth cells without cell division, but after injury can also repopulate the stem-cell niche and contribute to the regeneration of all intestinal lineages.

doi: 10.1038/nature11965


Crystal structure of an RNA-bound 11-subunit eukaryotic exosome complex p.70

The crystal structure of a complete yeast exosome (Exo-10) bound to a region of the Rrp6 nuclease and an RNA substrate is determined, demonstrating that the exosome binds and degrades RNA molecules with a channelling mechanism that is largely conserved in all kingdoms of life and is similar to the mechanism used by the proteasome to degrade polypeptides.

doi: 10.1038/nature11870



An eclipsing-binary distance to the Large Magellanic Cloud accurate to two per cent p.76

Observations of eight long-period, late-type eclipsing-binary systems composed of cool, giant stars are used to determine a distance to the Large Magellanic Cloud accurate to 2.2 per cent, providing a base for a determination of the Hubble constant to an accuracy of 3 per cent.

doi: 10.1038/nature11878


Porous materials with optimal adsorption thermodynamics and kinetics for CO2 separation p.80

A series of porous crystalline materials known as metal–organic materials are prepared, and a full sorption study shows that controlled pore size (rather than large surface area) coupled with appropriate chemistry lead to materials exhibiting fast and highly selective CO2 sorption.

doi: 10.1038/nature11893


Low-temperature aqueous-phase methanol dehydrogenation to hydrogen and carbon dioxide p.85

An efficient, low-temperature, aqueous-phase method of producing hydrogen gas from methanol using ruthenium complexes is described, which could make the transport of hydrogen — and hence its use for clean-energy generation — feasible.

doi: 10.1038/nature11891


Dynamics of a Snowball Earth ocean p.90

Extensive glaciations, possibly even a globally ice-covered Snowball Earth, took place in the Neoproterozoic era, and here the possible ocean circulation at that time, under a kilometre of ice, is described.

doi: 10.1038/nature11894


Amphibious flies and paedomorphism in the Jurassic period p.94

New strashilid fossils from the Middle Jurassic epoch of Daohugou, China, show that they are highly specialized flies, and suggest that larval abdominal respiratory gills were retained in adult males, indicating that adult strashilids were probably aquatic or amphibious, with mating occurring in water.

doi: 10.1038/nature11898


NFIB is a governor of epithelial–melanocyte stem cell behaviour in a shared niche p.98

NFIB, a transcription factor expressed by epithelial hair follicle stem cells, is shown to coordinate the synchronous maturation of hair follicle stem cells and melanocyte stem cells, thus controlling hair regeneration and pigmentation.

doi: 10.1038/nature11847


‘See-saw’ expression of microRNA-198 and FSTL1 from a single transcript in wound healing p.103

A post-transcriptional switch that controls spatiotemporal and mutually exclusive expression of two alternative gene products from a single transcript is reported; these gene products—miR-198 and FSTL1—are found to have opposing functions on keratinocyte migration and wound healing.

doi: 10.1038/nature11890


MicroRNA-34a regulates cardiac ageing and function p.107

A role is demonstrated for miR-34a, a microRNA that is upregulated in the ageing heart; miR-34a downregulates PNUTS, a protein that protects cardiomyocytes and telomeres, silencing of miR-34a is therefore a promising therapeutic target.

doi: 10.1038/nature11919


Non-optimal codon usage affects expression, structure and function of clock protein FRQ p.111

The frq gene, essential for circadian clock function, is shown to differ from most other genes in Neurospora by exhibiting non-optimal codon usage; by contrast, optimization of codon usage is unexpectedly found to affect the structure and function of the coded protein, subsequently impairing circadian feedback loops.

doi: 10.1038/nature11833


Non-optimal codon usage is a mechanism to achieve circadian clock conditionality p.116

Central circadian proteins in cyanobacteria unexpectedly use non-optimal codons, and optimizing their codes is shown to cause a change in an adaptive response to environmental conditions.

doi: 10.1038/nature11942


CPEB1 coordinates alternative 3′-UTR formation with translational regulation p.121

CPEB1 is known to regulate cytoplasmic polyadenylation, and is now shown to have a second function in the nucleus; it associates with the cleavage and polyadenylation machinery, thereby promoting usage of an upstream poly(A) signal in many messenger RNAs, and affecting alternative splicing.

doi: 10.1038/nature11901

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