Government science advisers are unlikely to be specialists on the subject of a crisis, but they are key to bringing together relevant experts and disseminating the information clearly and accurately.
Climate models must consider how humans are responding to a warming world.
Greater international assistance is needed to quell the epidemic, say health officials.
Genetically modified eucalyptus could be a global test case.
Desire to observe whales and dolphins up close is affecting animals’ behaviour.
Race is on to record mountain biodiversity before it is lost.
Volcanic eruptions, oil spills and bacterial outbreaks all land in the laps of government science advisers, and put them to the test.
News & Views
The latest releases from the ENCODE and modENCODE research consortia more than double the number of data sets on functional elements in the worm, fly and human genomes. See Articles p.393, p.400 & Letters p.445, p.449, p.453
Observations of γ-ray photons from a type Ia supernova indicate that stellar explosions of this kind get their energy from sudden thermonuclear fusion in the progenitor star. See Letter p.406
The aryl hydrocarbon receptor elicits protection against toxic environmental molecules. New data show that the receptor also supports the immune system by recognizing bacterially encoded virulence factors. See Article p.387
Neutrinos produced in the nuclear reaction that triggers solar-energy generation have been detected. This milestone in the search for solar neutrinos required a deep underground detector of exceptional sensitivity. See Article p.383
An improved design for a class of magnetometer greatly increases the sensitivity of these devices — and might be the vanguard of a new generation of hybrid sensors that combine different types of signal to increase sensitivity.
A theoretical model suggests that the cause of female-driven extra-pair mating lies in the spreading of male interests among neighbouring families, creating powerful incentives for male cooperation and concomitant benefits for females.
Spectral observations of the low-energy neutrinos produced by proton–proton fusion in the Sun demonstrate that about 99 per cent of the Sun’s power is generated by this process.
The mammalian aryl hydrocarbon receptor (known to sense environmental pollutants) is shown to also have a role as a pattern recognition receptor in sensing bacterial virulence factors, resulting in an antibacterial response and activation of innate and natural defences.
A large-scale transcriptome analysis in Drosophila melanogaster, across tissues, cell types and conditions, provides insights into global patterns and diversity of transcription initiation, splicing, polyadenylation and non-coding RNA expression.
Chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing across multiple stages of Caenorhabditis elegant development reveals the genomic distribution of binding sites for 92 transcription factors and regulatory proteins, and integration of these and cellular-resolution expression data produce a spatiotemporally resolved metazoan transcription factor binding map allowing exploration into the properties of developmental regulatory circuits.
A type Ia supernova is thought to be a thermonuclear explosion of either a single carbon–oxygen white dwarf or a pair of merging white dwarfs. The explosion fuses a large amount of radioactive 56Ni (refs 1–3). After the explosion, the decay chain from 56Ni to 56Co to 56Fe generates γ-ray photons, which are reprocessed in the expanding ejecta and give rise to powerful optical emission. Here we report the detection of 56Co lines at energies of 847 and 1,238 kiloelectronvolts and a γ-ray continuum in the 200–400 kiloelectronvolt band from the type Ia supernova 2014J in the nearby galaxy M82. The line fluxes suggest that about 0.6 ± 0.1 solar masses of radioactive 56Ni were synthesized during the explosion. The line broadening gives a characteristic mass-weighted ejecta expansion velocity of 10,000 ± 3,000 kilometres per second. The observed γ-ray properties are in broad agreement with the canonical model of an explosion of a white dwarf just massive enough to be unstable to gravitational collapse, but do not exclude merger scenarios that fuse comparable amounts of 56Ni.
A new quantum imaging experiment demonstrates images made with light that does not encounter the object; one of a pair of photons created at two crystals illuminates the object but is never detected, and the other photon, which is in a joint quantum state with the first and does not interact with the object, forms an image of the object on a camera.
A trinuclear titanium polyhydride complex can be used to cleave carbon–carbon bonds in benzene and transform the benzene ring, suggesting that multinuclear titanium hydrides could be used to activate aromatic molecules.
In many regions, a warming climate may lead to large decreases in annual snowfall while having a much weaker effect on the intensities of the heaviest snowfall events — those that can be most disruptive to urban infrastructure.
Fossils of Metaspriggina, one of the earliest known and most primitive fishes, are described, with the structure of the gills shown to presage that of jawed vertebrates in many ways.
During learning, the new patterns of neural population activity that develop are constrained by the existing network structure so that certain patterns can be generated more readily than others.
Four medulla neurons implement two critical processing steps to incoming signals in Drosophila motion detection.
A microRNA, miR-34a, is a novel and critical suppressor of osteoclastogenesis, bone resorption and the bone metastatic niche.
Long-term plant resistance polymorphism does not require obligate association but instead is maintained in the face of diffuse ecological interactions.
The receptor for the cytoplasmic factor that targets tail-anchored proteins to the endoplasmic reticulum is an enzyme that enables a facilitated insertion path into the lipid bilayer.
Uniform processing and detailed annotation of human, worm and fly RNA-sequencing data reveal ancient, conserved features of the transcriptome, shared co-expression modules (many enriched in developmental genes), matched expression patterns across development and similar extent of non-canonical, non-coding transcription; furthermore, the data are used to create a single, universal model to predict gene-expression levels for all three organisms from chromatin features at the promoter.
A large collection of new modENCODE and ENCODE genome-wide chromatin data sets from cell lines and developmental stages in worm, fly and human are analysed; this reveals many conserved features of chromatin organization among the three organisms, as well as notable differences in the composition and locations of repressive chromatin.
A map of genome-wide binding locations of 165 human, 93 worm and 52 fly transcription-regulatory factors (almost 50% presented for the first time) from diverse cell types, developmental stages, or conditions reveals that gene-regulatory properties previously observed for individual factors may be general principles of metazoan regulation that are well preserved.