Review, News & Views, Perspectives, Hypotheses and Analyses

  • News & Views |

    What Nature was saying 50 and 100 years ago.

  • News & Views |

    A study has demonstrated the value of using autonomous drones for conservation purposes.

    • Mary Abraham
  • News & Views |

    Interactions between the B and T cells of the human immune system are implicated in the brain disease multiple sclerosis. It emerges that B cells make a protein that is also made in the brain, and that T cells recognize this protein.

    • Richard M. Ransohoff
  • News & Views |

    Can the predicted rise in global food demand by 2050 be met sustainably? A modelling study suggests that a combination of interventions will be needed to tackle the associated environmental challenges.

    • Günther Fischer
  • News & Views |

    A remarkable metal–ceramic composite material has been produced that could aid the development of the next generation of power plants — and might even have a role in curing the world of its addiction to fossil fuels.

    • Craig Turchi
  • News & Views |

    Pigmented cells in the skin of cuttlefish can contract or relax to produce different skin-colour patterns. Tracking the dynamics of these cells reveals how this display system develops, and how it is controlled.

    • Adrien Jouary
    •  & Christian K. Machens
  • News & Views |

    The parasite Trypanosoma brucei causes sleeping sickness. It evades human defences by changing the version of a protein that coats its surface. Analysis of its genome and nuclear structure clarifies this variation process.

    • Steve Kelly
    •  & Mark Carrington
  • News & Views |

    Efforts to find early traces of life on Earth often focus on structures in ancient rocks, called stromatolites, that formed by microbial activity. One of the oldest proposed stromatolite discoveries has now been questioned.

    • Mark A. van Zuilen
  • News & Views |

    An exotic ultracold gas known as a Bose–Einstein condensate has been produced and studied in space. Such gases could be used to build quantum sensors that probe the properties of the Universe with extreme precision.

    • Liang Liu
  • News & Views |

    In 1993, two papers reported observations of an astronomical phenomenon called gravitational microlensing. The results showed that microlensing could be used to probe the elusive dark matter that is thought to pervade the Universe.

    • Grzegorz Pietrzyński
  • News & Views |

    What Nature was saying 50 and 100 years ago.

  • News & Views |

    Experiments reveal a previously unreported type of electronic noise that is caused by temperature gradients. The finding has practical implications, and could help in detecting unwanted hotspots in electrical circuits.

    • Elke Scheer
    •  & Wolfgang Belzig
  • News & Views |

    Light-emitting diodes made from perovskite semiconductors have reached a milestone in the efficiency with which they emit light — potentially ushering in a new platform for lighting and display technology.

    • Paul Meredith
    •  & Ardalan Armin
  • News & Views |

    A new technique, in which forebrain-precursor cells are ablated from early-stage mouse embryos and replaced with embryonic stem cells, promises to facilitate our ability to study the central nervous system.

    • Jimena Andersen
    •  & Sergiu P. Pașca
  • News & Views |

    UK Biobank contains a wealth of data on genetics, health and more from 500,000 participants. A detailed overview of the biobank and an analysis of its brain-imaging data show the value of this resource.

    • Nancy Cox
  • News & Views |

    What Nature was saying 50 and 100 years ago.

  • News & Views |

    The material graphene has a vast number of potential applications — but a survey of commercially available graphene samples reveals that research could be undermined by the poor quality of the available material.

    • Peter Bøggild
  • News & Views |

    Asgard archaea are the closest known relatives of nucleus-bearing organisms called eukaryotes. A study indicates that these archaea have a dynamic network of actin protein — a trait thought of as eukaryote-specific.

    • Laura Eme
    •  & Thijs J. G. Ettema
  • News & Views |

    The bacterial-defence system CRISPR–Cas can store DNA snippets that correspond to encountered viral RNA sequences. One such system has now been harnessed to record gene expression over time in bacteria.

    • Chase L. Beisel
  • News & Views |

    An organic polymer exhibits a phase transition that is associated with improved electromechanical properties. This feature links organic polymers with widely used perovskite materials, and could have many applications.

    • Ronald E. Cohen
  • News & Views |

    Antiviral drugs prevent HIV from replicating, but the virus can hide in the cells of infected individuals in a non-replicating, latent form. A two-pronged approach to target this latent virus shows promise in monkeys.

    • Sharon R. Lewin
  • News & Views |

    In developing embryos, molecular and physical differences divide the cells that will form eggs or sperm and those that will form the body. The mouse protein OTX2 directs this decision by blocking reproductive-cell fate.

    • Diana J. Laird
  • News & Views |

    What Nature was saying 50 and 100 years ago.

  • News & Views |

    The movements of relocated wild animals reveal that a lost migratory skill was regained over successive generations. This suggests that skill improvements can occur over time as animals learn expertise from each other.

    • Andrew Whiten
  • News & Views |

    Current biological sensors require bulky external power sources. Ultrathin solar cells have now been fabricated that can power flexible, wearable sensors for the precise and continuous monitoring of biological signals.

    • Shiming Zhang
    •  & Fabio Cicoira
  • News & Views |

    Contrary to previous assumptions, it seems the cells that line blood vessels are derived from more than one source. In addition to their known developmental path, they can arise from progenitors of embryonic blood cells.

    • M. Luisa Iruela-Arispe
  • News & Views |

    Increases in biomechanical forces in the liver’s blood vessels have now been shown to activate two mechanosensitive proteins. The proteins trigger blood-vessel cells to deploy regenerative factors that drive liver growth.

    • Sina Y. Rabbany
    •  & Shahin Rafii
  • News & Views |

    Mechanical structures have been made that exhibit self-guided, multi-step sequences of shape changes in response to an applied force. Such structures could have applications in flexible electronics and soft robotics.

    • Larry L. Howell
  • News & Views |

    Drug treatments for HIV infection require the long-term use of daily medication that can have toxic side effects. A pair of HIV-targeting antibodies might offer an alternative therapeutic approach.

    • Nancy L. Haigwood
  • News & Views |

    What Nature was saying 50 and 100 years ago.

  • News & Views |

    Aggregation of the protein tau is implicated in neurodegenerative diseases in humans. It emerges that eliminating a type of damaged cell that no longer divides can prevent tau-mediated neurodegeneration in mice.

    • Jay Penney
    •  & Li-Huei Tsai
  • News & Views |

    Chromosomes can exist outside the nucleus in rupture-prone structures called micronuclei. It emerges that micronuclei are fragile because their outer layer lacks some nuclear-envelope components.

    • Matthias Samwer
    •  & Daniel W. Gerlich
  • News & Views |

    Photoemission, the ejection of an electron from a material on the absorption of a photon, is one of the fastest processes in nature. An experiment demonstrates how the dynamics of this process can be captured in real time.

    • Thomas Fennel
  • News & Views |

    The sleep disorder narcolepsy is linked to immune-system genes and is caused by the loss of neurons that express the protein hypocretin. Hypocretin-targeting immune cells have now been found in people with narcolepsy.

    • Roland S. Liblau
  • News & Views |

    Experiments show that short bunches of protons can produce electric fields that are strong enough to accelerate energetic electrons compactly. This discovery could lead to miniaturized high-energy particle accelerators.

    • Toshiki Tajima
  • News & Views |

    What Nature was saying 50 and 100 years ago.

  • News & Views |

    Spinal-cord injury can render intact neuronal circuits functionally dormant. Targeted reduction of neuronal inhibition in the injured region has now enabled reactivation of these circuits in mice, restoring basic locomotion.

    • Grégoire Courtine
  • News & Views |

    Bird migration is influenced by weather, making it hard to predict when birds will pass through a particular place on their route. A model that forecasts bird migrations has been developed using radar data and weather information.

    • Mary Abraham
  • News & Views |

    Controlled long-distance transport of electron spins is required for a kind of electronics known as spintronics. Such transport has been realized in an antiferromagnet, the most common type of magnetic material.

    • Sergio M. Rezende
  • News & Views |

    Some bacteria make energy in a process that is accompanied by transfer of electrons to a mineral. A previously unknown electron-transfer pathway now reveals an energy-generation system used by bacteria in the human gut.

    • Laty A. Cahoon
    •  & Nancy E. Freitag
  • News & Views |

    Computational simulations suggest that future losses of tidal wetlands attributable to sea-level rise could be greatly offset by the landward advance of these ecosystems into newly sea-inundated areas.

    • Jonathan D. Woodruff
  • News & Views |

    A computational method has been devised that allows a structural motif found in proteins, known as a β-barrel, to be designed to bind specifically to any small molecule, opening the door to biotechnological applications.

    • Roberto A. Chica
  • News & Views |

    How the same type of cell can form different kinds of tumour isn’t always clear. The discovery that cancer subtype in mice is influenced by the type of cell death occurring in the microenvironment provides some insight.

    • Eli Pikarsky
  • News & Views |

    What Nature was saying 50 and 100 years ago.

  • News & Views |

    Sheets of cells called epithelia can curve into tubes in embryos. Modelling and in vivo observations reveal that cells in tubes adopt an asymmetric cell shape dubbed scutoid, contrary to some previous assumptions.

    • Guy Blanchard
  • News & Views |

    The magnetic field of Jupiter has been found to be different from all other known planetary magnetic fields. This result could have major implications for our understanding of the interiors of giant planets.

    • Chris Jones
  • News & Views |

    The protein RANKL is released by bone-forming cells called osteoblasts, and binds to its receptor, RANK, on osteoclast cells to trigger bone removal. It emerges that the pathway can act in reverse to stimulate bone formation.

    • Mone Zaidi
    •  & Christopher P. Cardozo
  • News & Views |

    A key step in the development of quantum computers that use neutral atoms as quantum bits is the assembly of tailored 3D arrays of atoms. Two laser-based approaches have now been reported to do this.

    • Nathan Lundblad
  • News & Views |

    Immunotherapies activate T cells to destroy tumours, but the approach has failed in some brain cancers. A strategy to improve migration of T cells across the blood–brain barrier could overcome this limitation.

    • Michael Platten