Concerns over AI are not simply fear-mongering. Progress in the field will affect society profoundly, and it is important to make sure that the changes benefit everyone.
The United Nations has chosen to keep the war on drugs going — but it can’t win.
The US vice-president’s cancer project is winning hearts and minds.
Scientists race to determine origin of Bangladesh outbreak, which they warn could spread farther afield.
Google, Facebook and other tech firms are changing how artificial-intelligence research is done.
Fears rise that US government and private funders are working at cross purposes.
Enthusiasm comes amid worries that the therapy may prove too complex to manufacture.
Third European Union flagship will be similar in size and ambition to graphene and human brain initiatives.
Drug company aims to pool genomic and medical data in hunt for rare genetic sequences associated with disease.
A year after a devastating earthquake triggered killer avalanches and rock falls in Nepal, scientists are wiring up mountainsides to forecast hazards.
The microbiologist spent years moving labs and relishing solitude. Then her work on gene-editing thrust her into the scientific spotlight.
News & Views
Large amoeba-like organisms known as Rhizaria have often been overlooked in studies of ocean biology and biogeochemistry. Underwater imaging and ecological network analyses are revealing their roles. See Article p.465 & Letter p.504
Membranes have been prepared with a cracked coating that prevents them from drying out in low-humidity conditions — a boon for devices, such as fuel cells, that need hydrated membranes to function. See Letter p.480
Scrutiny of fossils sometimes uncovers an unexpected phylogenetic relationship. New analyses of the enigmatic fossil Tullimonstrum from 300 million years ago reveal it to be a vertebrate. See Letters p.496 & p.500
A system of four neutrons known as the tetraneutron is a hypothetical state in nuclear physics. The report of evidence for the fleeting existence of this state has implications for research into neutron stars.
If stored information is erased from neural circuits in one brain hemisphere in mice, the lost data can be recovered from the other. This finding highlights a safeguarding mechanism at work in the brain. See Article p.459
A mathematical technique has now been developed that reveals the underlying dynamics of time-dependent data collected with extreme temporal uncertainty, without using additional, costly instrumentation. See Letter p.471
It has been proposed that language meaning is represented throughout the cerebral cortex in a distributed ‘semantic system’, but little is known about the details of this network; here, voxel-wise modelling of functional MRI data collected while subjects listened to natural stories is used to create a detailed atlas that maps representations of word meaning in the human brain.
In mouse cortex, ‘preparatory’ activity that encodes future movements is remarkably robust against large-scale perturbations; this robustness is achieved by corrective signals from unperturbed parts of the network.
Plankton communities in the top 150 m of the nutrient-depleted, oligotrophic global ocean that are most associated with carbon export include unexpected taxa, such as Radiolaria, alveolate parasites, and Synechococcus and their phages, and point towards potential functional markers predicting a significant fraction of the variability in carbon export in these regions.
A data-analytical approach that can extract the history and dynamics of complex systems from noisy snapshots on timescales much shorter than the uncertainty with which the data were recorded is described; the approach is demonstrated by extracting the dynamics on the few-femtosecond timescale from experimental data recorded with 300-femtosecond timing uncertainty.
The simplest form of the Hubbard model includes only on-site interactions, but by placing an optical lattice filled with ultracold rubidium atoms into an optical cavity the Hubbard model is implemented with competing long- and short-range interactions; four phases emerge, namely, a superfluid phase, a Mott insulating phase, a supersolid phase and a charge density wave phase.
Nanometre-scale cracks in a hydrophobic surface coating applied to hydrocarbon proton-exchange fuel-cell membranes work as tiny valves, delaying water desorption and maintaining ion conductivity in the membrane on dehumidification.
A modification to the classic Diels–Alder [4 + 2] cycloaddition reaction, termed the pentadehydro-Diels–Alder reaction, is reported; this reaction generates a highly reactive intermediate, an α,3-dehydrotoluene, that can be captured using various trapping agents to produce structurally diverse products.
Aircraft measurements, laboratory photolysis experiments and modelling calculations reveal a mechanism for the recycling of nitric acid into nitrogen oxides; this enables observations to be reconciled with model studies, and suggests that particulate nitrate photolysis could be a substantial tropospheric nitrogen oxide source.
Here, the authors model the fluid dynamics that controls the transport of the magmatic volatile phase (MVP) in crystal-rich and crystal-poor magmas; they find that the MVP tends to migrate efficiently in crystal-rich parts of a magma reservoir but to accumulate in crystal-poor parts—possibly explaining why crystal-poor silicic magmas are particularly prone to erupting.
The Tully monster (Tullimonstrum), a problematic fossil from the 309–307-million-year-old Mazon Creek biota of Illinois, is shown to be not only a vertebrate but also akin to lampreys, increasing the morphological disparity of that group.
The eyes of the Tully monster (Tullimonstrum) possess ultrastructural details indicating homology with vertebrate eyes.
An in situ imaging technique has been used to show that large rhizarian plankton represent a much larger biomass than previously thought, meaning that they are likely to make an important contribution to ocean ecosystems.
The RNA-binding protein Musashi-2 increases the self-renewing abilities of human haematopoietic stem cells, which have the potential to be used for regenerative therapies.
The immune system of laboratory mice raised in an ultra-hygienic environment resembles that of newborn humans, but can be induced to resemble the immune system of adult humans or 'dirty' mice by co-housing with pet store-bought mice.
The CRISPR-associated protein Cpf1 from Francisella novicida is a novel enzyme with specific, dual-endoribonuclease–endonuclease activities in precursor crRNA processing and crRNA-programmable cleavage of target DNA.
The crystal structure of monomeric Lachnospiraceae bacterium Cpf1 protein bound to CRISPR RNA is presented, establishing a framework for engineering LbCpf1 to improve its efficiency and specificity for genome editing.
The X-ray crystal structures of the human σ1 receptor bound to two different ligands are reported, revealing the overall architecture, oligomerization state, and molecular basis for ligand recognition by this protein.