Volume 508 Number 7497



A toxic legacy p.431

Illegal dumping of toxic waste in the Italian Campania has been blamed for high rates of ill health in the region. The suspected link needs to be investigated using the most modern methods.

doi: 10.1038/508431a


Take care p.432

The United States must tread carefully when building a health-data system.

doi: 10.1038/508432b


A question of trust p.432

NASA’s decision to renege on SOFIA project casts doubts over its reliability as a partner.

doi: 10.1038/508432a



Tamiflu report comes under fire p.439

Conclusions on stockpiling of antiviral drugs challenged.

doi: 10.1038/508439a


Chile quake defies expectations p.440

Smaller-than-expected tremor has scientists scrambling to redefine rules for areas of extreme seismic stress.

doi: 10.1038/508440a


Quantum communications leap out of the lab p.441

China begins work on super-secure network as ‘real-world’ trial successfully sends quantum keys and data.

doi: 10.1038/508441a


RNA interference rebooted p.443

Gene-silencing technique yields promising treatments for liver-linked disorders.

doi: 10.1038/508443a

News Features


Climate-change adaptation: Designer reefs p.444


doi: 10.1038/508444a


Renewable energy: Biofuels heat up p.448


doi: 10.1038/508448a

News & Views


Electrochemistry: Catalysis at the boundaries p.460


doi: 10.1038/nature13226


Sensory systems: Do you hear what I see? p.461


doi: 10.1038/508461a


Infection biology: Nibbled to death p.462


doi: 10.1038/nature13223


Genetics: The vital Y chromosome p.463


doi: 10.1038/508463a


Climate science: Sea levels from ancient seashells p.465


doi: 10.1038/nature13328


Reproductive biology: Sperm protein finds its mate p.466


doi: 10.1038/nature13227



Guidelines for investigating causality of sequence variants in human disease OPEN p.469

Acceleration in discovery of rare genetic variants possibly linked with disease may mean an increased risk of false-positive reports of causality; this Perspective proposes guidelines to distinguish disease-causing sequence variants from the many potentially functional variants in a human genome, and to assess confidence in their pathogenicity, and highlights priority areas for development.

doi: 10.1038/nature13127



Sea-level and deep-sea-temperature variability over the past 5.3 million years p.477

A novel approach to the estimation of sea level and deep-sea temperature has been used to determine these quantities over the past 5.3 million years; this approach, based on oxygen isotope records from the eastern Mediterranean, shows that temperature and sea-level histories are broadly correlated but also show intriguing temporal offsets.

doi: 10.1038/nature13230


Juno is the egg Izumo receptor and is essential for mammalian fertilization p.483

The egg receptor for Izumo, a sperm cell-surface protein required for male fertility, is identified here and renamed Juno; these findings show that the Izumo–Juno interaction is conserved within mammals, and open new opportunities for the development of fertility treatments and contraceptives.

doi: 10.1038/nature13203


Origins and functional evolution of Y chromosomes across mammals p.488

Using high-throughput genome and transcriptome sequencing, Y chromosome evolution across 15 representative mammals is explored, with results providing evidence for three independent sex chromosome originations in mammals and birds.

doi: 10.1038/nature13151


Mammalian Y chromosomes retain widely expressed dosage-sensitive regulators p.494

A study comparing the Y chromosome across mammalian species reveals that selection to maintain the ancestral dosage of homologous X–Y gene pairs preserved a handful of genes on the Y chromosome while the rest were lost; the survival of broadly expressed dosage-sensitive regulators of gene expression suggest that the human Y chromosome is essential for male viability.

doi: 10.1038/nature13206



Superconducting quantum circuits at the surface code threshold for fault tolerance p.500

A universal set of logic gates in a superconducting quantum circuit is shown to have gate fidelities at the threshold for fault-tolerant quantum computing by the surface code approach, in which the quantum bits are distributed in an array of planar topology and have only nearest-neighbour couplings.

doi: 10.1038/nature13171


Electroreduction of carbon monoxide to liquid fuel on oxide-derived nanocrystalline copper p.504

The electrochemical conversion of CO and H2O into liquid fuel is made feasible at modest potentials with the use of oxide-derived nanocystalline Cu as the catalyst.

doi: 10.1038/nature13249


Hybrid shallow on-axis and deep off-axis hydrothermal circulation at fast-spreading ridges p.508

High-resolution three-dimensional simulations of hydrothermal flow beneath fast-spreading ridges predict two interacting flow components — shallow on-axis flow and deeper off-axis flow — that merge to feed axial vent sites, reconciling previously incompatible models favouring only one flow component.

doi: 10.1038/nature13174


Plate tectonics, damage and inheritance p.513

Lithospheric damage, combined with transient mantle flow and migrating proto-subduction, is proposed to explain the apparent emergence of plate tectonics three billion years ago; modelling confirms that tectonic plate boundaries and fully formed tectonic plates can arise under conditions characteristic of Earth but not of Venus.

doi: 10.1038/nature13072


Herbivores and nutrients control grassland plant diversity via light limitation p.517

Experimental data collected from 40 grasslands on 6 continents show that nutrients and herbivores can serve as counteracting forces to control local plant diversity; nutrient addition reduces local diversity through light limitation, and herbivory rescues diversity at sites where it alleviates light limitation.

doi: 10.1038/nature13144


Eutrophication weakens stabilizing effects of diversity in natural grasslands p.521

Experimental eutrophication weakens the stabilizing effects of plant diversity on the productivity of natural grasslands.

doi: 10.1038/nature13014


Trogocytosis by Entamoeba histolytica contributes to cell killing and tissue invasion p.526

Entamoeba histolytic, the causative agent of fatal diarrhoeal disease in children in the developing world, is shown here to kill human cells by biting off and ingesting pieces of cells, in a process reminiscent of the trogocytosis seen between immune cells; ingestion of bites is required for killing and this mechanism is used both in tissue culture and during invasion of intestinal explants.

doi: 10.1038/nature13242


Inhibition of miR-25 improves cardiac contractility in the failing heart p.531

Reduced activity of the calcium-transporting ATPase SERCA2a is a hallmark of heart failure; here, microRNAs that downregulate SERCA2a function are identified, and antagonism of one, miR-25, is shown to halt heart failure in mice.

doi: 10.1038/nature13073


Foxc1 is a critical regulator of haematopoietic stem/progenitor cell niche formation p.536

Transcription factor Foxc1 is a key regulator of haematopoietic stem/progenitor cell niche formation.

doi: 10.1038/nature13071


Cell-cycle-regulated activation of Akt kinase by phosphorylation at its carboxyl terminus p.541

Phosphorylation of Akt at its carboxy-terminal tail is an essential layer of Akt activation to regulate its physiological functions.

doi: 10.1038/nature13079


Nectar secretion requires sucrose phosphate synthases and the sugar transporter SWEET9 p.546

Although nectar is known to be important, for example in plant–insect interactions, little has been known about the mechanism of its secretion; sucrose phosphate synthases are now reported to be essential for the synthesis of the sucrose component of nectar and the transporter protein SWEET9 is shown to mediate sucrose export into the extracellular space of the nectary.

doi: 10.1038/nature13082


Structure of a type IV secretion system p.550

The three-dimensional structure of the type IV secretion system encoded by the Escherichia coli R388 conjugative plasmid.

doi: 10.1038/nature13081

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