To boost its research quality and innovation, China must strengthen its scientific foundations and let researchers — not policymakers — set the agenda for innovation and discovery.
Pooling clinical details helps doctors to diagnose rare diseases — but more sharing is needed.
The problem of gun violence in the United States must finally be addressed.
Rival parties avoid carbon controversy of former years.
Struggle in Northern Cape province highlights a balancing act that scientists leading gigantic projects face.
Sea-floor instruments will monitor seismic activity very close to the Cascadia fault.
Stark differences between men and women’s immune responses pose medical conundrum.
Florida repository of marine sediments dates back to early days of US polar exploration.
After historic first discovery last September, twin observatories detected gravitational waves again on Boxing Day.
A special issue looks at the country's astonishing scientific trajectory as it seeks to secure its spot among the leaders in innovation.
Research capacity has grown rapidly, and now quality is on the rise.
From ancient DNA to neutrinos and neuroscience, top researchers in China are making big impacts — and raising their country’s standing in science.
First China conquered DNA sequencing. Now it wants to dominate precision medicine too.
News & Views
The detection of a gravitational wave was a historic event that heralded a new phase of astronomy. A numerical model of the Universe now allows researchers to tell the story of the black-hole system that caused the wave. See Letter p.512
Communication between cells relies on hormone release from secretory granules, but how these vesicles fuse with cell membranes is unclear. An imaging study provides in vivo evidence for a stable intermediate fusion step. See Letter p.548
Gauge theories underpin the standard model of particle physics, but are difficult to study using conventional computational methods. An experimental quantum system opens up fresh avenues of investigation. See Letter p.516
An in-depth analysis of a close relative of animals, Capsaspora owczarzaki, provides clues to the changes in gene regulation that occurred during the transition to multicellularity.
An analysis suggests that high carbon uptake by US land ecosystems during the warm spring of 2012 offset the carbon loss that resulted from severe drought over the summer — and hints that the warm spring could have worsened the drought.
Sperm–egg binding is mediated by two cell-surface proteins. Structural analysis of these proteins separately and in complex provides insight into the recognition process and the subsequent sperm–egg fusion. See Letters p.562 & p.566
Advances in meson spectroscopy can enhance our understanding of how composite objects emerge from the fundamental underlying theory of interacting quarks and gluons, quantum chromodynamics.
Two spider toxins are shown to target the Nav1.1 subtype of sodium channel specifically, shedding light on the role of these channels in mechanical pain signalling.
The effect of natural genetic diversity on the proteome is characterized using an outbred mouse model with extensive variation; both transcripts and proteins from mouse livers are quantified to identify a large set of protein quantitative trait loci (pQTL), and mediation analysis identifies causal protein intermediates of distant pQTL.
The X-ray crystal structure of rat transient receptor potential channel TRPV6 at 3.25 Å resolution is reported, providing new insights into its assembly and calcium-selective permeation.
Numerical simulations of the formation of binary black holes provide a framework within which to interpret the recent detection of the first gravitational-wave source and to predict the properties of subsequent binary-black-hole gravitational-wave events; the calculations predict detections of about 1,000 black-hole mergers per year once gravitational-wave observatories reach full sensitivity.
A digital quantum simulation of a lattice gauge theory is performed on a quantum computer that consists of a few trapped-ion qubits; the model simulated is the Schwinger mechanism, which describes the creation of electron–positron pairs from vacuum.
A direct comparison of high harmonic generation in the solid and gas phases of Ar and Kr reveals higher harmonics in these rare-gas solids caused by strong interband couplings; evidence of recollisions implies that gas-phase techniques for attosecond pulse generation and orbital tomography could be adapted for solids.
Negative capacitance is observed in a model system of multidomain ferroelectric–dielectric superlattices; the multidomain state can increase the temperature range over which negative capacitance can be observed.
Cold-drawing of multimaterial fibres consisting of a brittle core embedded in a ductile polymer cladding results in controllable fragmentation of the core to produce uniformly sized rods parallel to the drawing direction for cylindrical geometries and narrow, parallel strips perpendicular to the drawing direction for flat geometries.
Replacing the iron atom in Fe-porphyrin IX proteins with a noble-metal atom enables the creation of enzymes that catalyse reactions not catalysed by native Fe-enzymes or other metalloenzymes; this approach could be used to generate other artificial enzymes that could catalyse a wide range of abiological transformations.
People infected with West Nile virus often experience cognitive side effects including memory loss through unknown mechanisms; mice and humans infected with the virus experience a loss in hippocampal presynaptic terminals, which can be reversed by disrupting complement or microglia in mice.
Structural and functional studies of the tail knob protein of bacteriophage ϕ29 shed light on how the phage breaches the membrane barrier and ejects its DNA genome into the host cell.
Super-resolution imaging provides direct evidence in live cells that membrane fusion and fission are mediated through an intermediate hemi-fused structure, where fusion and calcium/dynamin-dependent fission mechanisms compete to determine the transition of the intermediate to fusion or fission.
An investigation into the nuclear events involved in autophagy regulation identifies the histone arginine methyltransferase CARM1 as a transcriptional co-activator of transcription factor TFEB; CARM1 levels are decreased by the SKP2-containing E3 ubiquitin ligase and increased during autophagy induction after nutrient starvation.
The cancer drug rocaglamide A cements the RNA helicase eIF4A on polypurine sequences and thereby prevents scanning of the 43S subunit along the messenger RNA, highlighting how a drug can act by stabilizing sequence-selective RNA–protein interactions.
This study describes the structures of the IZUMO1 protein, found on sperm, and the JUNO protein, found on eggs, and sheds light on their roles in sperm–egg fusion during fertilization.
The structure of the IZUMO1–JUNO complex, crucial for sperm–oocyte interaction during fertilization, is reported, providing a first step towards understanding the mechanics of the interaction.
Small molecules are powerful tools for investigating protein function, and can serve as leads for new therapeutics, but most human proteins lack known small-molecule ligands; here, a quantitative analysis of cysteine-reactive small-molecule fragments screened against thousands of proteins is reported.
The structure of the METTL3–METTL14 complex, which mediates N6-adenosine methylation of RNA, suggests that the METTL3 subunit is the catalytic core while METTL14 serves to bind RNA.