Review, News & Views, Perspectives, Hypotheses and Analyses

  • News & Views |

    Structural features have been identified on positively charged lightning channels that are not present on negatively charged ones. The discovery could explain why these two types of channel have different behaviours.

    • Earle Williams
    •  & Joan Montanyà
  • News & Views |

    An electrical analogue of the magnetic-skyrmion bubble — a swirling arrangement of magnetic moments — has been unveiled in an artificially layered oxide material, raising prospects of new physics and applications.

    • Pavlo Zubko
  • News & Views |

    How Nature reported the working conditions of deep-sea fishers in 1969, and the calorific content of German and British diets during the First World War.

  • News & Views |

    A vacuum as described by quantum mechanics is perhaps the most fundamental but mysterious state in physics. The discovery of correlations between electric-field fluctuations in such a vacuum represents a major advance.

    • Andrey S. Moskalenko
    •  & Timothy C Ralph
  • News & Views |

    Cancer cells often have mutations in anticancer genes that make their survival dependent on other genes. The gene-editing approach CRISPR–Cas9 offers a way to identify such vulnerabilities.

    • Felix Y. Feng
    •  & Luke A. Gilbert
  • News & Views |

    A mouse model that replicates the clinical features of the most common form of heart failure opens a window on the mechanisms underlying this disease, and could help scientists to explore future therapies.

    • Dulguun Amgalan
    •  & Richard N. Kitsis
  • News & Views |

    How Nature reported the opening of the children’s gallery at the London Science Museum in 1969, and a strange memory problem from 1919.

  • News & Views |

    Gene mutations that truncate the encoded protein can trigger the expression of related genes. The discovery of this compensatory response changes how we think about genetic studies in humans and model organisms.

    • Miles F. Wilkinson
  • News & Views |

    DNA analysis and microscopy reveal a third organism in the symbiosis that forms coral. The finding underscores the functional and evolutionary complexity of the symbiotic relationships that support many ecosystems.

    • Thomas A. Richards
    •  & John P. McCutcheon
  • News & Views |

    A spectroscopic imaging method has reached a resolution 1,000 times better than the limits of standard optical imaging techniques — and reveals vibrational modes of molecules previously seen only in computational models.

    • Eric C. Le Ru
  • News & Views |

    Cell competition in the skin promotes tissue youthfulness, but the same process later leads to skin ageing. This finding helps to explain how skin is maintained, and uncovers potential anti-ageing therapeutic targets.

    • Ganna Bilousova
    •  & James DeGregori
  • News & Views |

    Experiments have revealed an attractive interaction between pairs of particles that is mediated by a surrounding quantum gas. The finding paves the way for a detailed study of the properties of such mediated interactions.

    • Georg M. Bruun
  • News & Views |

    How Nature reported the discovery of formaldehyde in space in 1969, and an explanation of iridescent colouration from 1919.

  • News & Views |

    After decades of clumsiness, robots are finally learning to walk, run and grasp with grace. Such progress spells the beginning of an age of physically adept artificial intelligence.

    • Hod Lipson
  • News & Views |

    A microorganism that consumes ethane in the absence of environmental oxygen has been discovered. In the depths of the sea, this microbe, which oxidizes ethane, partners with another that reduces sulfate to sulfide.

    • Stephen W. Ragsdale
  • News & Views |

    Materials called plastic crystals have been found to undergo huge temperature changes when subjected to small pressures near room temperature. Such materials could form the basis of future refrigeration technologies.

    • Claudio Cazorla
  • News & Views |

    A detailed biological assessment of Africa’s highest mountain explores how climate modulates the effects of human land use on plants, animals, microorganisms and a diverse array of ecosystem functions.

    • Robert M. Pringle
  • News & Views |

    How Nature reported improved decision-making rules for betting in 1969, and an experiment in international wireless telephony from 1919.

  • News & Views |

    The factors that contributed to the explosive nature of the 2015 Zika outbreak in the Americas are not well understood. A new analysis explores the link between prior dengue virus exposure and Zika virus infection.

    • Stephen S. Whitehead
    •  & Theodore C. Pierson
  • News & Views |

    Three studies have demonstrated the cooling and trapping of single strontium and ytterbium atoms in two-dimensional arrays. Such arrays could lead to advances in atomic-clock technology and in quantum simulation and computing.

    • Mark Saffman
  • News & Views |

    X-ray observations of the Galactic Centre have uncovered chimney-like structures filled with hot plasma. The discovery might reveal how energy is transported from this central region to far-off locations.

    • Masha Chernyakova
  • News & Views |

    A protein complex that moves molecules called lipopolysaccharides between the two cell-wall membranes of certain bacteria is a target for antibiotics. Structures now reveal how this complex delivers its load irreversibly.

    • Russell E. Bishop
  • News & Views |

    A robotic system has been demonstrated in which the random motion of individual components leads to deterministic behaviour, much as occurs in living systems. Environmental and medical applications could follow.

    • Metin Sitti
  • Analysis |

    The characterization of missense histone mutations that occur across several cancer types provides insight into the potential role of these mutations in altering chromatin structure and potentially contributing to tumour development.

    • Benjamin A. Nacev
    • , Lijuan Feng
    • , John D. Bagert
    • , Agata E. Lemiesz
    • , JianJiong Gao
    • , Alexey A. Soshnev
    • , Ritika Kundra
    • , Nikolaus Schultz
    • , Tom W. Muir
    •  & C. David Allis
  • News & Views |

    How Nature reported Australian flooding in 1919, and the conservation of patches of grass in 1969.

  • News & Views |

    The ability to attach a variety of chemical groups to one position in a molecule facilitates the search for compounds that have useful properties. Reactions have been reported that could transform how chemists do this.

    • Eric M. Ferreira
  • News & Views |

    The function of histone proteins can be modified through addition or removal of certain chemical groups. The addition of a serotonin molecule is a newly found histone modification that could influence gene expression.

    • Marlene Cervantes
    •  & Paolo Sassone-Corsi
  • News & Views |

    Ordinary computers can perform machine learning by comparing mathematical representations of data. An experiment demonstrates how quantum computing could use quantum-mechanical representations instead.

    • Maria Schuld
  • News & Views |

    How Nature reported the lack of women engineers in the United Kingdom in 1969, and the use of charcoal in gas masks in 1919.

  • News & Views |

    Many enzymes cooperate with other proteins and small molecules to function. A strategy that mimics the confinement of such cooperative partners in cells might allow these enzymes to be used in applications outside biological systems.

    • Alison Narayan
  • News & Views |

    The contribution of a single neuron to brain function might seem negligible. But a map of the influence of single neurons reveals a complex pattern that prevents redundancy and enables clear messaging.

    • Ikuko T. Smith
  • News & Views |

    Four studies demonstrate the vast opportunities provided by stacking pairs of monolayer materials and changing the resulting optical properties by twisting one material with respect to the other.

    • Bernhard Urbaszek
    •  & Ajit Srivastava
  • News & Views |

    How Nature reported a chalk ‘mammoth’ in 1919, and musical physics in 1969.

  • News & Views |

    Ocean-floor hot springs teeming with animal life were reported 40 years ago. How has knowledge of life thriving in such extreme conditions grown since then, and what challenges remain for exploration and conservation down there?

    • Cindy Lee Van Dover
  • News & Views |

    A global biodiversity crash 251.9 million years ago has revealed how ecosystems respond to extreme perturbation. The finding that terrestrial ecosystems were less affected than marine ones is unexpected.

    • Robert A. Gastaldo
  • News & Views |

    Quantum computers require controlled encoding to protect computations from environmental noise. Two experiments have achieved such encoding using what are known as infinite-dimensional quantum systems.

    • Alessandro Ferraro
  • News & Views |

    Bone elongation requires the maintenance of a growth plate of cartilage. Two studies have now identified stem cells specific to this structure that give rise to both cartilage cells and bone-marrow stem cells.

    • Manuela Wuelling
    •  & Andrea Vortkamp
  • News & Views |

    Iridescent colours have been observed to be reflected from specially designed droplets of colourless liquids, with the reflected colour depending on the viewing angle. The finding reveals a curious mechanism for creating coloration.

    • Kenneth Chau
  • News & Views |

    Insecticides that kill mosquitoes have helped to fight malaria, but insecticide resistance is rising. Treating mosquitoes with drugs that target the disease-causing parasite offers another way of tackling malaria.

    • Janet Hemingway
  • News & Views |

    A study of a cuckoo species that usually shows cooperative nesting behaviour, but sometimes cheats at parenthood by laying eggs in others’ nests, reveals the benefits that have shaped the evolution of this parasitic tactic.

    • Andrew G. Zink
    •  & John M. Eadie