After years of talk, the palm-oil industry is looking into adopting environmental standards. Such rules must be strong, and need to be implemented.
Government labs should be subject to the same transparent oversight as academic facilities.
The communication of risk in disease outbreaks is too often neglected; that must change.
After a string of failed trials, drugs that target protein build-up in the brain appear to slow disease progress.
Ship and planes will probe water–ice interface in fjords.
Potentially rocky world spotted by Kepler spacecraft offers glimpse at Earth's future.
From skin disorders to the immune system, sex with archaic species changed Homo sapiens.
Lawmakers face looming deadline to reach a deal — or risk government shutdown.
Canadian observatory aims to chart cosmic expansion rate between 10 billion and 8 billion years ago.
An easy method that promised to cut complications in surgery may not be so simple after all.
Biologists are building banks of 'organoids', and learning a lot about human development on the way.
News & Views
A genetically modified rice with more starch in its grains also provides fewer nutrients for methane-producing soil microbes. This dual benefit might help to meet the urgent need for globally sustainable food production. See Letter p.602
A microscopy technique has been used to study the formation and growth of crystals of porous solids known as metal–organic frameworks in real time. The findings will aid the design of methods for making these useful compounds.
A polymer-based material has been discovered that breaks the rules — it has the right combination of properties for use in energy-storage devices called dielectric capacitors, and can function at high temperatures. See Letter p.576
The first crystal structure of a G-protein-coupled receptor in complex with an arrestin protein provides insight into how the signalling pathways activated by these receptors are switched off through desensitization. See Article p.561
Two genetic regions associated with major depressive disorder have been revealed for the first time, through whole-genome sequencing of a population of Han Chinese women. See Letter p.588
Mutations underlying hereditary cataracts in two families impair the function of an enzyme that synthesizes the lens molecule lanosterol. The finding may lead to non-surgical prevention and treatment of cataracts. See Letter p.607
Electrons in a crystal can tunnel between energy bands when a strong electric field is switched on. It emerges that electron pathways interfere almost instantaneously, giving rise to ultra-short, pulsed emission of light. See Letter p.572
Ice-core and tree-ring data show that large volcanic eruptions in the tropics and high latitudes were primary drivers of temperature variability in the Northern Hemisphere during the past 2,500 years, firmly implicating such eruptions as catalysts in major sixth-century pandemics, famines, and socioeconomic disruptions.
The emergence of long-range metabolic co-dependence within a biofilm drives oscillations in growth that resolve a social conflict between cooperation and competition, thereby increasing community-level fitness against chemical attack.
The assembly, architecture and role of the bacterial type VI secretion system (T6SS) membrane core complex is presented.
G protein-coupled receptors are a large family of signalling proteins that mediate cellular responses primarily via G proteins or arrestins, and they are targets of one-third of the current clinically used drugs; here, an active form of human rhodopsin bound to a pre-activated form of the mouse visual arrestin-1 is determined, revealing unique structural features that may constitute essential elements for arrestin-biased signalling.
Radio and optical spectroscopic observations of a brown dwarf reveal auroral emissions powered by magnetospheric currents, showing that aurorae may be a signature of magnetospheres much larger than those observed in our Solar System.
The generation of high harmonics in the solid phase is studied with time-resolved measurements and a quantum many-body theory; the underlying motion of electrons is found to differ from that observed during high-harmonic generation in atomic gases, and involves quantum interference between electrons from multiple valence bands.
The addition of boron nitride nanosheets to polymer nanocomposites creates dielectric materials that operate at much higher working temperatures than previous polymer dielectrics, as well as being flexible, lightweight, photopatternable, scalable and robust, which now makes them more attractive for electronic device applications than ceramic dielectrics.
Neodymium isotopes from fossil fish teeth and tectonic reconstructions show that the deep Tasmanian Gateway opened up about 33 million years ago and that the Antarctic Circumpolar Current arose 30 million years ago, when the gateway probably moved into the latitudes of the strong westerly winds.
A new Middle Triassic stem-turtle from Germany sheds new light on the evolutionary transition of turtles and their long-contentious relationships to other amniotes.
Genomic analysis of 5,303 Chinese women with recurrent major depressive disorder (MDD) enables the identification and replication of two genome-wide significant loci contributing to risk of MDD on chromosome 10: one near the SIRT1 gene; the other in an intron of the LHPP gene.
A new microendoscopic method reveals that hippocampal dendritic spines in the CA1 region undergo a complete turnover in less than six weeks in adult mice; this contrasts with the much greater stability of synapses in the neocortex and provides a physical basis for the fact that episodic memories are only retained by the mouse hippocampus for a few weeks.
Little is known about how the relative proportions of stem cells and differentiated cells are regulated; basal stem/progenitor cells of the mouse airway epithelium self renew and differentiate into secretory and ciliated cells, and basal stem cells continuously send daughter cells a forward niche signal necessary for daughter cell fate maintenance.
Expression of a barley transcription factor SUSIBA2 in rice generates a plant with high-starch content and low-methane emissions by conferring a shift in the carbon flux that favours the allocation of photosynthates to aboveground biomass rather than to the roots.
Exploring the genetic basis of congenital cataracts in two families identifies a molecule, lanosterol, which prevents intracellular protein aggregation of various cataract-causing mutant crystallins, and which can reduce cataract severity and increase lens transparency in vivo in dogs.
CD8 T-cell exhaustion, although a negative prognostic indicator during persistent infections, is shown to be associated with a good outcome in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.
Mitochondria are shown to form a conductive pathway throughout the cell in the form of a proton motive force, and throughout this network, mitochondrial protein localization seems to be varied, allowing optimized generation and utilization of the mitochondrial membrane potential; the rapid energy distribution network, which depends on conduction rather than diffusion, could explain how the muscle can rapidly respond to energy demands.
Structural and biochemical studies of RNA polymerase II (Pol II) assembled on DNA containing 5-carboxycytosine reveals that Pol II can sense the oxidized methylation state of DNA and transiently slows down during transcription.