The unfolding Volkswagen saga highlights the need for better funding of regulatory science — and should prompt regulators to keep a closer eye on whether their rules are working.
An effort to sequence thousands of people’s genomes reaches the end of the beginning.
The latest global targets from the United Nations must be translated into realistic policies.
Climate commitment could help to build momentum towards a new global pact to limit greenhouse-gas emissions.
El Niño might bring relief, but longer and deeper dry spells are predicted.
From unpaid electricity bills to delayed participation in a telescope project, funding cuts bite.
Smaller enzyme may make process simpler and more exact.
The pigs are endearing but scientists warn that they may be a distraction from more serious research.
Terence Tao builds on an online collaboration to successfully attack the Erdős discrepancy problem.
Recreation of a 2,000-year-old model of the Universe to appear in exhibition.
The digital currency has caused any number of headaches for law enforcement. Now entrepreneurs and academics are scrambling to build a better version.
Plans to build one of the world's biggest telescopes on Mauna Kea in Hawaii are mired in conflict. Four people involved in the fight explain their diverse views.
News & Views
The earliest stars are of huge importance to the chemical history of the cosmos, but have previously existed only in theory. There is now strong evidence that such population III stars exist in the brightest galaxy yet found in the early Universe.
Cloaking drug-loaded nanoparticles with platelet membranes enhances the drugs' abilities to target desired cells and tissues. This technology might improve treatments for cardiovascular and infectious diseases. See Letter p.118
Warmer temperatures have been associated with an earlier emergence of spring leaves each year. New data, however, suggest that leaf emergence is becoming less sensitive to temperature as global temperatures rise. See Letter p.104
The identification of a regulatory site on the UBE3A protein that can be phosphorylated to alter its enzymatic activity provides insight into the aetiology of two human neurodevelopmental diseases, Angelman syndrome and autism.
A transistor has been demonstrated that operates at low supply voltages by exceeding a theoretical limit. The finding opens up avenues to the development of integrated circuits that have extremely low power consumption. See Letter p.91
In the final phase of a seven-year project, the genomes of 2,504 people across five continental regions have been sequenced. The result is a compendium of in-depth data on variation in human populations. See Articles p.68 & p.75
The CRISPR-Cas systems of bacteria and archaea provide adaptive immunity against invading mobile genetic elements such as phages and plasmids; this Review describes the discovery of these systems and the mechanisms of immunity, including recent progress in establishing the molecular basis of host immunization.
Practical applications of magnesium as a lightweight structural metal are limited by its high work hardening, low ductility and fracture at very low strains; now molecular dynamics simulations reveal the origins of these problems and offer a route to design magnesium alloys with improved mechanical properties.
Results for the final phase of the 1000 Genomes Project are presented including whole-genome sequencing, targeted exome sequencing, and genotyping on high-density SNP arrays for 2,504 individuals across 26 populations, providing a global reference data set to support biomedical genetics.
The Structural Variation Analysis Group of The 1000 Genomes Project reports an integrated structural variation map based on discovery and genotyping of eight major structural variation classes in 2,504 unrelated individuals from across 26 populations; structural variation is compared within and between populations and its functional impact is quantified.
Low read depth sequencing of whole genomes and high read depth exomes of nearly 10,000 extensively phenotyped individuals are combined to help characterize novel sequence variants, generate a highly accurate imputation reference panel and identify novel alleles associated with lipid-related traits; in addition to describing population structure and providing functional annotation of rare and low-frequency variants the authors use the data to estimate the benefits of sequencing for association studies.
A new type of device, the band-to-band tunnel transistor, which has atomically thin molybdenum disulfide as the active channel, operates in a fundamentally different way from a conventional silicon (MOSFET) transistor; it has turn-on characteristics and low-power operation that are better than those of state-of-the-art MOSFETs or any tunnelling transistor reported so far.
A synthetic complex with a sulfur-rich coordination sphere is described that, upon reduction, breaks an Fe–S bond and binds N2, providing a model for the iron–molybdenum cofactor used by nitrogenase enzymes to produce ammonia.
Erosion and velocity data from 15 outlet glaciers covering temperate to polar glacier thermal regimes from Patagonia to the Antarctic Peninsula reveal that over the past century the basin-averaged erosion rates vary by three orders of magnitude as a function of climate across this latitudinal transect.
Spring leaf unfolding has been occurring earlier in the year because of rising temperatures; however, long-term evidence in the field from 7 European tree species studied in 1,245 sites shows that this early unfolding effect is being reduced in recent years, possibly because the reducing chilling and/or insolation render trees less responsive to warming.
Enamel is a tissue unique to vertebrates, and nowadays associated with teeth; here, histological material from a fossil bony fish and genomic data from an extant, armour-plated fish are analysed to show that enamel originated on the body surface and only later colonized the teeth.
The extent to which low‐frequency (minor allele frequency (MAF) between 1–5%) and rare (MAF ≤ 1%) variants contribute to complex traits and disease in the general population is mainly unknown. Bone mineral density (BMD) is highly heritable, a major predictor of osteoporotic fractures, and has been previously associated with common genetic variants, as well as rare, population‐specific, coding variants. Here we identify novel non‐coding genetic variants with large effects on BMD (ntotal = 53,236) and fracture (ntotal = 508,253) in individuals of European ancestry from the general population. Associations for BMD were derived from whole‐genome sequencing (n = 2,882 from UK10K (ref. 10); a population‐based genome sequencing consortium), whole‐exome sequencing (n = 3,549), deep imputation of genotyped samples using a combined UK10K/1000 Genomes reference panel (n = 26,534), and de novo replication genotyping (n = 20,271). We identified a low‐frequency non‐coding variant near a novel locus, EN1, with an effect size fourfold larger than the mean of previously reported common variants for lumbar spine BMD (rs11692564(T), MAF = 1.6%, replication effect size = +0.20 s.d., Pmeta = 2 × 10−14), which was also associated with a decreased risk of fracture (odds ratio = 0.85; P = 2 × 10−11; ncases = 98,742 and ncontrols = 409,511). Using an En1cre/flox mouse model, we observed that conditional loss of En1 results in low bone mass, probably as a consequence of high bone turnover. We also identified a novel low‐frequency non‐coding variant with large effects on BMD near WNT16 (rs148771817(T), MAF = 1.2%, replication effect size = +0.41 s.d., Pmeta = 1 × 10−11). In general, there was an excess of association signals arising from deleterious coding and conserved non‐coding variants. These findings provide evidence that low‐frequency non‐coding variants have large effects on BMD and fracture, thereby providing rationale for whole‐genome sequencing and improved imputation reference panels to study the genetic architecture of complex traits and disease in the general population.
The authors report a new biomimetic nanodelivery platform in which polymeric nanoparticles enclosed in the plasma membrane of human platelets are used for disease-relevant targeting, and the therapeutic potential of the concept is demonstrated in animal models of coronary restenosis and systemic bacterial infection.
Efficient airborne transmission of influenza viruses between humans is associated with use of α2,6-linked sialic acids, not α2,3-linked sialic acids; however, using a loss-of-function approach in which a 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus was engineered to bind α2,3 sialic acids, this study shows in ferrets that the soft palate is an important site for the switch of receptor usage to take place, and reveals that this tissue rapidly selects for transmissible influenza virus with human receptor preference.
α-catulin is identified as a marker to locate functional haematopoiteic stem cells in deep imaging experiments of bone marrow, showing that α-catulin–GFP+c-kit+ cells commonly reside in perisinusoidal niches throughout the bone marrow.
Single-cell analysis of gene expression in metastatic cells from distinct human breast tumour models shows that early metastatic cells possess basal, stem and mesenchymal cell properties, whereas advanced metastatic cells have more proliferative properties and are more mature, enabling them to be targeted with an anti-proliferative compound.
Bacterial cells evolved an immune system known as CRISPR–Cas to protect themselves from viral infection, triggering viruses to evolve anti-CRISPR proteins; here, three anti-CRISPR proteins are characterized, with each one interfering with the host CRISPR system at a different point.
The most comprehensive architectural model to date of the nuclear pore complex reveals previously unknown local interactions, and a role for nucleoporin 358 in Y-complex oligomerization.