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The plight of young scientists p.443

A special issue explores how the research enterprise keeps early-career scientists from pursuing the most important work, and what can be done to help.

doi: 10.1038/538443a

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News & Views

Precision timing in a cell p.462

A 16-year-old synthetic genetic circuit that produces gene-expression oscillations in bacterial cells has been given an upgrade, making it an exceptionally precise biological clock. See Letter p.514

Xiaojing J. Gao & Michael B. Elowitz

doi: 10.1038/nature19478

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Twenty-five years of low-cost solar cells p.463

In 1991, an energy-efficient solar cell was reported that was both simple in design and relatively inexpensive. This invention has since inspired the development of solar cells that have even higher efficiencies.

Mohammad K. Nazeeruddin

doi: 10.1038/538463a

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Female genital cutting under the spotlight p.465

Variations in opinion between members of a community can be exploited to facilitate desirable changes in attitude, as exemplified by films that explore different beliefs about female genital cutting. See Letter p.506

Nicholas A. Christakis

doi: 10.1038/nature19482

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Birth of stellar siblings p.466

Binary and multiple star systems result from the fragmentation of dense material in young molecular clouds. Observations reveal that this can occur on small scales, supporting a previous model of star formation. See Letter p.483

Adele Plunkett

doi: 10.1038/538466a

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Deep neural reasoning p.467

The human brain can solve highly abstract reasoning problems using a neural network that is entirely physical. The underlying mechanisms are only partially understood, but an artificial network provides valuable insight. See Article p.471

Herbert Jaeger

doi: 10.1038/nature19477

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Ancient avian aria from Antarctica p.468

A discovery of the sound-producing vocal organ known as the syrinx in a bird fossil from the end of the 'age of dinosaurs' highlights the anatomical basis for myriad aspects of avian social and behavioural evolution. See Letter p.502

Patrick M. O'Connor

doi: 10.1038/nature19480

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Articles

Hybrid computing using a neural network with dynamic external memory p.471

A ‘differentiable neural computer’ is introduced that combines the learning capabilities of a neural network with an external memory analogous to the random-access memory in a conventional computer.

Alex Graves, Greg Wayne, Malcolm Reynolds, Tim Harley, Ivo Danihelka, Agnieszka Grabska-Barwińska, Sergio Gómez Colmenarejo, Edward Grefenstette, Tiago Ramalho, John Agapiou + et al.

doi: 10.1038/nature20101

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The MCL1 inhibitor S63845 is tolerable and effective in diverse cancer models p.477

S63845 specifically inhibits MCL1 and induces tumour cell death in vitro and in vivo in diverse cancer-derived cell lines with an acceptable safety margin.

András Kotschy, Zoltán Szlavik, James Murray, James Davidson, Ana Leticia Maragno, Gaëtane Le Toumelin-Braizat, Maïa Chanrion, Gemma L. Kelly, Jia-Nan Gong, Donia M. Moujalled + et al.

doi: 10.1038/nature19830

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Letters

A triple protostar system formed via fragmentation of a gravitationally unstable disk p.483

Observations of the triple protostar system L1448 IRS3B support the hypothesis that companion stars can form because of gravitational instability in a protostellar disk.

John J. Tobin, Kaitlin M. Kratter, Magnus V. Persson, Leslie W. Looney, Michael M. Dunham, Dominique Segura-Cox, Zhi-Yun Li, Claire J. Chandler, Sarah I. Sadavoy, Robert J. Harris + et al.

doi: 10.1038/nature20094

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Quantum dynamics of simultaneously measured non-commuting observables p.491

Simultaneous measurement of two incompatible observables in a superconducting qubit placed in a cavity shows that the quantum dynamics of the system is governed by the uncertainty principle and that the wavefunction collapse is replaced by persistent diffusion.

Shay Hacohen-Gourgy, Leigh S. Martin, Emmanuel Flurin, Vinay V. Ramasesh, K. Birgitta Whaley & Irfan Siddiqi

doi: 10.1038/nature19762

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Atom-at-a-time laser resonance ionization spectroscopy of nobelium p.495

Resonance ionization spectroscopy of nobelium (atomic number 102) reveals its ground-state transition and an upper limit for its ionization potential, paving the way to characterizing even heavier elements via optical spectroscopy.

Mustapha Laatiaoui, Werner Lauth, Hartmut Backe, Michael Block, Dieter Ackermann, Bradley Cheal, Premaditya Chhetri, Christoph Emanuel Düllmann, Piet van Duppen, Julia Even + et al.

doi: 10.1038/nature19345

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Fossil evidence of the avian vocal organ from the Mesozoic p.502

Birds make sound in the syrinx, a unique vocal organ situated deep in the chest, but little is known about the evolution of this structure; a fossilized Cretaceous age syrinx from Antarctica is described from a species that might have been capable of making a goose-like honking sound.

Julia A. Clarke, Sankar Chatterjee, Zhiheng Li, Tobias Riede, Federico Agnolin, Franz Goller, Marcelo P. Isasi, Daniel R. Martinioni, Francisco J. Mussel & Fernando E. Novas

doi: 10.1038/nature19852

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Changing cultural attitudes towards female genital cutting p.506

Entertaining movies addressing both individual values and marriageability can provide a way to change cultural attitudes towards female genital cutting within certain cultures.

Sonja Vogt, Nadia Ahmed Mohmmed Zaid, Hilal El Fadil Ahmed, Ernst Fehr & Charles Efferson

doi: 10.1038/nature20100

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Genomic insights into the peopling of the Southwest Pacific p.510

Analysis of ancient DNA from four individuals who lived in Vanuatu and Tonga between 2,300 and 3,100 years ago suggests that the Papuan ancestry seen in present-day occupants of this region was introduced at a later date.

Pontus Skoglund, Cosimo Posth, Kendra Sirak, Matthew Spriggs, Frederique Valentin, Stuart Bedford, Geoffrey R. Clark, Christian Reepmeyer, Fiona Petchey, Daniel Fernandes + et al.

doi: 10.1038/nature19844

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Synchronous long-term oscillations in a synthetic gene circuit p.514

The first synthetic genetic oscillator or ‘repressilator’ is simplified using insights from stochastic theory, thus achieving remarkably precise and robust oscillations and informing current debates about the next generation of synthetic circuits and their potential applications in cell-based therapies.

Laurent Potvin-Trottier, Nathan D. Lord, Glenn Vinnicombe & Johan Paulsson

doi: 10.1038/nature19841

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T-cell acute leukaemia exhibits dynamic interactions with bone marrow microenvironments p.518

Here, leukaemia cells are followed by intravital microscopy as they infiltrate mouse bone marrow and respond to chemotherapy, revealing that at all stages analysed they are highly motile and do not display any associations with particular bone marrow sub-compartments.

Edwin D. Hawkins, Delfim Duarte, Olufolake Akinduro, Reema A. Khorshed, Diana Passaro, Malgorzata Nowicka, Lenny Straszkowski, Mark K. Scott, Steve Rothery, Nicola Ruivo + et al.

doi: 10.1038/nature19801

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Chromosome conformation elucidates regulatory relationships in developing human brain p.523

High-resolution three-dimensional maps of chromatin contacts in the developing human brain help to identify enhancer–promoter contacts, many of which are associated with human cognitive function and disease.

Hyejung Won, Luis de la Torre-Ubieta, Jason L. Stein, Neelroop N. Parikshak, Jerry Huang, Carli K. Opland, Michael J. Gandal, Gavin J. Sutton, Farhad Hormozdiari, Daning Lu + et al.

doi: 10.1038/nature19847

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