Volume 529 Number 7584


Come together p.5

Cross-continent collaboration in the sciences has become the norm. We must ensure that disadvantaged regions are not left out

doi: 10.1038/529005a


News Features

The physics of life p.16

From flocking birds to swarming molecules, physicists are seeking to understand 'active matter' — and looking for a fundamental theory of the living world.

doi: 10.1038/529016a

News & Views

Why black holes pulse brightly p.28

Black holes can produce oscillating outbursts of radiation that were thought to be associated with high rates of infalling matter. The observation of pulses of visible light from a black hole complicates this picture. See Letter p.54

doi: 10.1038/529028a

Different worlds p.29

Patterns of species association reveal that terrestrial plant and animal communities today are structured differently from communities spanning the 300 million years that preceded large-scale human activity. See Letter p.80

doi: 10.1038/nature16329

Host protein clips bird flu's wings in mammals p.30

The polymerase enzyme from avian influenza A viruses does not function well in human cells. The protein ANP32A has been identified as the cellular factor mediating a major component of this host restriction. See Letter p.101

doi: 10.1038/529030a

Sources of Chaco wood p.31

Tree rings can pinpoint the source of wood as well as how old it is. This method has now been used to identify the sources of timber used by the Native Americans who constructed the pre-Columbian 'great houses' of Chaco Canyon.

doi: 10.1038/nature16864

Rare isotopic insight into the Universe p.33

Light isotopes of hydrogen and helium formed minutes after the Big Bang. The study of one of these primordial isotopes, helium-3, has now been proposed as a useful strategy for constraining the physics of the standard cosmological model.

doi: 10.1038/nature16326

Oncogene brought into the loop p.34

Analysis of the 3D structure of DNA in tumour cells reveals how mutations in the IDH1 gene, and associated changes in methyl groups attached to DNA, elevate the expression of cancer-promoting genes. See Letter p.110

doi: 10.1038/nature16330


Autophagy maintains stemness by preventing senescence p.37

The regenerative properties of muscle stem cells decline with age as the stem cells enter an irreversible state of senescence; a study of mouse muscle stem cells reveals that entry into senescence is an autophagy-dependent process and promoting autophagy in old satellite cells can reverse senescence and restore their regenerative properties in an injury model.

doi: 10.1038/nature16187

Substantial contribution of extrinsic risk factors to cancer development p.43

Recent analyses have suggested that the intrinsic behaviour of tissue stem cells may be responsible for malignant transformation and cancer progression, raising questions regarding the influence of extrinsic factors on tumorigenesis; here, both data-driven and model-driven evidence show that such intrinsic risk factors contribute only marginally to cancer development, indicating that cancer risk is heavily influenced by extrinsic factors.

doi: 10.1038/nature16166


Repetitive patterns in rapid optical variations in the nearby black-hole binary V404 Cygni p.54

Observations of V404 Cygni, an X-ray transient containing a black hole of nine solar masses and a companion star, show that optical oscillations on timescales of 100 seconds to 2.5 hours can occur at mass-accretion rates at least ten times lower than previously thought, suggesting that the accretion rate is not the critical parameter for inducing inner-disk instabilities.

doi: 10.1038/nature16452

A continuum from clear to cloudy hot-Jupiter exoplanets without primordial water depletion p.59

A spectroscopic comparison of ten hot-Jupiter exoplanets reveals that the difference between the planetary radius measured at optical and infrared wavelengths allows atmosphere types ranging from clear to cloudy to be distinguished; the difference in radius at a given wavelength correlates with the spectral strength of water at that wavelength, suggesting that haze obscures the signal from water.

doi: 10.1038/nature16068

Partially oxidized atomic cobalt layers for carbon dioxide electroreduction to liquid fuel p.68

Electroreduction of carbon dioxide into useful fuels helps to reduce fossil-fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, but activating carbon dioxide requires impractically high overpotentials; here a metal atomic layer combined with its native oxide that requires low overpotentials to reduce carbon dioxide is developed, adapted from an existing cobalt-based catalyst.

doi: 10.1038/nature16455

Four-electron deoxygenative reductive coupling of carbon monoxide at a single metal site p.72

The environmental and geopolitical problems associated with fossil fuels might be alleviated if it were possible to produce synthetic multicarbon fuels efficiently from single-carbon feedstocks; here, a molybdenum compound supported by a terphenyl–diphosphine ligand is used to convert carbon monoxide into a metal-free C2O1 fragment, with the ligand both serving as an electron reservoir and stabilizing the different intermediate species.

doi: 10.1038/nature16154

Slab melting as a barrier to deep carbon subduction p.76

Experiments show that carbonated oceanic crust subducting into the mantle will intersect the melting curve at depths of about 300 to 700 kilometres, creating a barrier to direct carbonate recycling into the deep mantle.

doi: 10.1038/nature16174

Influence of extreme weather disasters on global crop production p.84

Analyses of the effects of extreme weather disasters on global crop production over the past five decades show that drought and extreme heat reduced national cereal production by 9–10%, whereas no discernible effect at the national level was seen for floods and extreme cold; droughts affect yields and the harvested area, whereas extreme heat mainly affects yields.

doi: 10.1038/nature16467

Insulator dysfunction and oncogene activation in IDH mutant gliomas p.110

An epigenetic mechanism in which gain-of-function IDH mutations promote gliomagenesis by disrupting chromosomal topology is presented, with IDH mutations causing the binding sites of the methylation-sensitive insulator CTCF to become hypermethylated; disruption of a CTCF boundary near the glioma oncogene PDGFRA allows a constitutive enhancer to contact and activate the oncogene aberrantly.

doi: 10.1038/nature16490