Review, News & Views, Perspectives, Hypotheses and Analyses

  • News & Views |

    An autoimmune attack on cells that make the hormone insulin causes type 1 diabetes. A mouse study reveals that pancreatic-cell release of insulin peptide fragments into the bloodstream triggers this harmful process.

    • Jiajie Wei
    •  & Jonathan W. Yewdell
  • News & Views |

    The molecule succinate, which is a product of metabolism, promotes heat production and therefore calorie burning in brown fat in mice. This discovery could have implications for combating obesity in humans.

    • Sheng Hui
    •  & Joshua D. Rabinowitz
  • News & Views |

    An electron microscope has been developed that produces images at higher resolution than conventional approaches can achieve, and is suitable for studying fragile materials that can be damaged by electron beams.

    • John Rodenburg
  • News & Views |

    An excavation has uncovered stone tools in China that are about 2.1 million years old. This evidence pushes back the date of the earliest established signs of a hominin species outside Africa.

    • John Kappelman
  • News & Views |

    Climate anomalies punctuated the last ice age, characterized by the discharge of icebergs that released fresh water into the North Atlantic Ocean. It now emerges that fresh water also sometimes flooded the North Pacific.

    • Kaustubh Thirumalai
  • News & Views |

    The introduction of non-native rats can devastate island ecosystems. It now emerges that these rats also harm a complex web of interactions linking seabirds with the algae and fishes of nearby coral reefs.

    • Nancy Knowlton
  • Perspective |

    China has addressed widespread rural poverty and environmental degradation head-on via unprecedented investment in sixteen large-scale sustainability programmes.

    • Brett A. Bryan
    • , Lei Gao
    • , Yanqiong Ye
    • , Xiufeng Sun
    • , Jeffery D. Connor
    • , Neville D. Crossman
    • , Mark Stafford-Smith
    • , Jianguo Wu
    • , Chunyang He
    • , Deyong Yu
    • , Zhifeng Liu
    • , Ang Li
    • , Qingxu Huang
    • , Hai Ren
    • , Xiangzheng Deng
    • , Hua Zheng
    • , Jianming Niu
    • , Guodong Han
    •  & Xiangyang Hou
  • News & Views |

    Clinical use of the anticancer drug methotrexate can be limited by its high toxicity. It emerges that a diet rich in the amino acid histidine increases the effectiveness of methotrexate treatment and lowers toxicity in mice.

    • Christian Frezza
  • News & Views |

    Exotic particles called Majorana fermions have potential applications in quantum computing, but their existence has yet to be definitively confirmed. Two groups have now glimpsed these particles.

    • Kirill Shtengel
  • News & Views |

    An analysis of gene-expression patterns in single cells provides detailed insights into the developmental processes that lead to maturation of the coronary arteries.

    • Arndt F. Siekmann
  • News & Views |

    Einstein’s theory of gravity — the general theory of relativity — is based on the principle that all objects accelerate identically in an external gravitational field. A triple-star system provides a stringent test of this principle.

    • Clifford M. Will
  • News & Views |

    New species of marine fishes are found to emerge at a faster rate in high-latitude oceans, which have lower densities of species, than in the species-rich tropics. Are the tropics too crowded for new species to take hold?

    • Arne O. Mooers
    •  & Dan A. Greenberg
  • News & Views |

    Bioengineered heart valves are a promising treatment for heart-valve disease, but often undergo mechanical failure when implanted. Computational modelling of the initial valve design has now improved their performance in sheep.

    • Craig A. Simmons
  • News & Views |

    Proteins called GABAA receptors have a pivotal role in neuronal inhibition, and are targets of several drugs. Structures of the most abundant GABAA receptor in humans are now reported, and will aid future drug discovery.

    • Erwin Sigel