Volume 529 Number 7585


A secure future p.127

Research advances mean that the time is ripe to ratify the ban on testing nuclear weapons.

doi: 10.1038/529127b

Solving the drink problem p.127

The United Kingdom's new guidelines on alcohol consumption are a sound example of evidence-based policymaking.

doi: 10.1038/529127a


News Features

Trouble in Tibet p.142

Rapid changes in Tibetan grasslands are threatening Asia's main water supply and the livelihood of nomads.

doi: 10.1038/529142a

News & Views

Fibre for the future p.158

A chronic lack of dietary fibre has been found to reduce the diversity of bacteria in the guts of mice. This effect is not fully reversed when fibre is reintroduced, and increases in severity over multiple generations. See Letter p.212

doi: 10.1038/529158a

Photons from dwarf galaxy zap hydrogen p.159

The detection of photons sufficiently energetic to ionize neutral hydrogen, coming from a compact, star-forming galaxy, offers clues to how the first generation of galaxies may have reionized hydrogen gas in the early Universe. See Letter p.178

doi: 10.1038/529159a

Transcriptional control of endothelial energy p.160

The formation of blood vessels requires rapid proliferation of endothelial cells. The transcription factors FOXO1 and MYC have been found to regulate the metabolism and proliferation of vascular endothelial cells. See Letter p.216

doi: 10.1038/nature16866

Earth's narrow escape from a big freeze p.162

An equation has been derived that allows the timing of the onset of glaciations to be predicted. This confirms that Earth has just missed entering a new glacial period, and is unlikely to enter one for another 50,000 years. See Letter p.200

doi: 10.1038/529162a

A trail map for trait-based studies p.163

Global assessments of variation in plant functional traits and the way that these traits influence competitive interactions provide a launching pad for future ecological studies. See Article p.167 & Letter p.204

doi: 10.1038/nature16862

Pull out the stops for plasticity p.164

The strength of synaptic connections between neurons needs to be variable, but not too much so. Evidence now indicates that regulation of such synaptic plasticity involves a complex cascade of feedback loops.

doi: 10.1038/529164a


The global spectrum of plant form and function p.167

The authors found that the key elements of plant form and function, analysed at global scale, are largely concentrated into a two-dimensional plane indexed by the size of whole plants and organs on the one hand, and the construction costs for photosynthetic leaf area, on the other.

doi: 10.1038/nature16489


Controlling many-body states by the electric-field effect in a two-dimensional material p.185

To be able to control the properties of a system that has strong electron–electron interactions using only an external electric field would be ideal, but the material must be thin enough to avoid shielding of the electric field in the bulk material; here pure electric-field control of the charge-density wave and superconductivity transition temperatures is achieved by electrolyte gating through an electric-field double layer transistor in the two-dimensional material 1T-TiSe2.

doi: 10.1038/nature16175

Rapid removal of organic micropollutants from water by a porous β-cyclodextrin polymer p.190

The global occurrence in water resources of organic micropollutants, such as pesticides and pharmaceuticals, has raised concerns about potential negative effects on aquatic ecosystems and human health. Activated carbons are the most widespread adsorbent materials used to remove organic pollutants from water but they have several deficiencies, including slow pollutant uptake (of the order of hours) and poor removal of many relatively hydrophilic micropollutants. Furthermore, regenerating spent activated carbon is energy intensive (requiring heating to 500–900 degrees Celsius) and does not fully restore performance. Insoluble polymers of β-cyclodextrin, an inexpensive, sustainably produced macrocycle of glucose, are likewise of interest for removing micropollutants from water by means of adsorption. β-cyclodextrin is known to encapsulate pollutants to form well-defined host–guest complexes, but until now cross-linked β-cyclodextrin polymers have had low surface areas and poor removal performance compared to conventional activated carbons. Here we crosslink β-cyclodextrin with rigid aromatic groups, providing a high-surface-area, mesoporous polymer of β-cyclodextrin. It rapidly sequesters a variety of organic micropollutants with adsorption rate constants 15 to 200 times greater than those of activated carbons and non-porous β-cyclodextrin adsorbent materials. In addition, the polymer can be regenerated several times using a mild washing procedure with no loss in performance. Finally, the polymer outperformed a leading activated carbon for the rapid removal of a complex mixture of organic micropollutants at environmentally relevant concentrations. These findings demonstrate the promise of porous cyclodextrin-based polymers for rapid, flow-through water treatment.

doi: 10.1038/nature16185

Iron-catalysed tritiation of pharmaceuticals p.195

An iron-catalysed method for the direct 3H labelling of pharmaceuticals by hydrogen isotope exchange using tritium gas is reported; the site selectivity of the iron catalyst is orthogonal to currently used iridium catalysts and allows isotopic labelling of complementary positions in drug molecules.

doi: 10.1038/nature16464

Earliest hominin occupation of Sulawesi, Indonesia p.208

New excavations in Sulawesi, where in situ stone artefacts associated with fossil remains of megafauna have been recovered from stratified deposits between 200,000 and 100,000 years ago, suggest that Sulawesi was host to a long-established population of archaic hominins.

doi: 10.1038/nature16448

Diet-induced extinctions in the gut microbiota compound over generations p.212

In mice on a low microbiota-accessible carbohydrate (MAC) diet, the diversity of the gut microbiota is depleted, and the effect is transferred and compounded over generations; this phenotype is only reversed after supplementation of the missing taxa via faecal microbiota transplantation, suggesting dietary intervention alone may by insufficient at managing diseases characterized by a dysbiotic microbiota.

doi: 10.1038/nature16504

Crystal structure of a DNA catalyst p.231

Both DNA and RNA molecules have been shown to exhibit catalytic activity, but only the structure of catalytic RNAs has previously been determined; here the structure of an RNA-ligating DNA in the post-catalytic state is solved.

doi: 10.1038/nature16471