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America's fresh start p431

The next US president will lead the country back onto the world stage in many arenas, including science.


See also: Editor's summary

Creation and classrooms p431

Better to confront superstition with science than to disregard the superstitious.


Pathways to security p432

Self-regulation is a good first step — but synthetic-biology companies still need independent oversight.



Research Highlights

Marine ecology: Seeing red p434


Cell biology: Home-grown fat control p434


Materials science: A rarefied insulator p434


Nonlinear dynamics: Loading the dice p434


Astronomy: When Triton lost its mate p434


Ecology: Fire prevention p434


Neuroscience: Sweet connections p435


Palaeontology: Whale of a tail p435


Animal behaviour: Counting bee p435


Solar power: Light work p435



Journal Club

Journal club p435

Francisco Azuaje




LHC meltdown before first collision p436

Europe's largest particle accelerator might not produce data until 2009.

Geoff Brumfiel


California institute to help stem-cell biotechs p436

Loan programme aims to support firms in getting products to the clinic.

Erika Check Hayden


Monoclonal antibodies come of age p437

Biotechs look to 'passive immunity' therapies.

Heidi Ledford


Gulf states plan for nuclear future p438

Oil-rich nations concern proliferation experts with atomic projects.

Geoff Brumfiel


Brazil braced for unexpected oil wealth p438

President appoints committee to exploit reservoirs found on coast.

Jeff Tollefson


Snapshot: Marine marvels p440


Creationism row forces out UK educator p441


Anthrax enquiry to undergo independent review p441


Researcher punished for misconduct wins NSF grant p441


Australian clinic gets permit to clone stem cells p441


Agency drops disputed chelation study p441


Arctic ice shrinks less this year than last p441



News Features

US election: The home stretch p442

The leading US presidential candidates are not trying to woo voters with science issues. But the senator who wins will help shape the world's most influential research agenda. Alexandra Witze looks at how John McCain and Barack Obama have developed their thoughts on science and technology, and where each of them might take the country if elected.

Alexandra Witze


US election: Questioning the candidates p446

Barack Obama accepted Nature's invitation to answer 18 science-related questions in writing; John McCain's campaign declined. Obama's answers to many of the questions are printed here; answers to additional questions (on topics including biosecurity, the nuclear weapons laboratories and US participation in international projects) can be found at Wherever possible, Nature has noted what McCain has said at other times on these topics.

Alexandra Witze


US election: Agencies of change p451

A new president could bring radical shifts to America's major research entities. Nature profiles some of the agencies in need of a makeover.

Jeff Tollefson




US election: Not the best advice p453

Concerns about the next president's science adviser miss the real issues, says David Goldston.

David Goldston



News Feature

Science prizes: Best in class p455

What is it like to be labelled a genius? Kendall Powell follows the paths of four MacArthur Fellows - and finds they lead to rutting elephant bulls, climate-change champions, hybrid sunflowers and robotic hands.

Kendall Powell




Shaping science education in just 100 words p460

Marco Prunotto


Animal research: too much faith in models clouds judgement p460

Keith Suckling


Animal research: raise standards to protect patients p460

Susan Green


Energy: efficiency gains alone won't reduce emissions p460

Robin Lovelace


Energy: time to consider heavy-metal nuclear coolants? p461

Donald E. Hirsch


Big data: open-source format needed to aid wiki collaboration p461

Tin-Lap Lee


Big data: teaching must evolve to keep up with advances p461

Samuel Donovan




A cat's cradle for policy p462

The OECD is developing a strategy for nations to measure and ultimately promote innovation. It requires knowledge of a complex system, say Fred Gault and Susanne Huttner.


See also: Editor's summary


Books and Arts

Land of giants p464

Expansion of the railways across the western United States changed the face of vertebrate palaeontology, and perhaps the country itself, explains Ross MacPhee.

Ross MacPhee reviews The Legacy of the Mastodon: The Golden Age of Fossils in America by Keith Thomson


Which science book should the next US president read? p464

Steven Shapin, Jerry Coyne, Rita Colwell, Martin Nowak, Jerry Ravetz & Kevin Padian


See also: Editor's summary

A sustainable home for science p466

Erika Check Hayden reviews The California Academy of Sciences


Saving public universities p467

John B. Clark reviews Unmaking the Public University: The Forty-Year Assault on the Middle Class by Christopher Newfield


Q&A: Science sketched out p468

The annual UK Big Draw festival, a month of nationwide workshops and talks launched this weekend in London, teaches people how to 'see' through drawing. Terry Rosenberg, head of design at Goldsmiths, University of London, explains how gaining skills in life drawing can help scientists perceive the world and communicate their results.

Louise Whiteley




Meetings that changed the world: Bellagio 1969: The green revolution p470

Agriculture in developing countries was transformed when scientists met aid officials and convinced them to invest in research. Lowell S. Hardin was there, and believes today's food crisis demands a similar vision.

Lowell S. Hardin


See also: Editor's summary


News and Views

Structural biology: A moving story of receptors p473

Animals sense light and chemical signals through proteins called G-protein-coupled receptors. The crystal structure of one such receptor in complex with a G-protein fragment shows how these receptors are activated.

Thue W. Schwartz & Wayne L. Hubbell


See also: Editor's summary

Solid-state physics: New order for magnetism p474

Physicists have come up with an innovative way of manipulating the direction of magnetization in a solid. The approach might be used to make low-power-consumption computer memory devices.

Eiji Saitoh


See also: Editor's summary

Hearing: Route to authentic hair cells p475

Existing therapies for hearing defects are generally ineffective in severe forms of deafness. A technical feat that generates sound-sensing hair cells in the inner ear of mice might have long-term potential.

Mats Ulfendahl


See also: Editor's summary

Astrophysics: How fast can you blink? p477

Serendipitous observations have revealed fast optical flaring after the onset of X-ray-burst activity from a source in our Milky Way galaxy. It could be the first time this has been observed in a rare kind of neutron star.

Chryssa Kouveliotou


See also: Editor's summary

Neuroscience: An ageing view of myelin repair p478

When the myelin layer that covers neuronal processes is lost through disease, neural stem cells recapitulate the developmental program of 'myelination'. The underlying molecular mechanisms often fail in the ageing brain.

Klaus-Armin Nave


Cancer: Entangled pathways p479

A medley of molecules, and the interactions between them, mediate cancer. The latest news is that the enzyme CDK8 orchestrates cross-talk between two signalling pathways that are frequently deregulated in human cancers.

René Bernards


See also: Editor's summary


News and Views Q&A

Microbiology: Metagenomics p481

Ten years after the term metagenomics was coined, the approach continues to gather momentum. This culture-independent, molecular way of analysing environmental samples of cohabiting microbial populations has opened up fresh perspectives on microbiology.

Philip Hugenholtz & Gene W. Tyson


See also: Editor's summary



Frequency-modulated nuclear localization bursts coordinate gene regulation p485

Long Cai, Chiraj K. Dalal & Michael B. Elowitz


See also: Editor's summary

Trans-splicing in C. elegans generates the negative RNAi regulator ERI-6/7 p491

Sylvia E. J. Fischer, Maurice D. Butler, Qi Pan & Gary Ruvkun


See also: Editor's summary

Crystal structure of opsin in its G-protein-interacting conformation p497

Patrick Scheerer, Jung Hee Park, Peter W. Hildebrand, Yong Ju Kim, Norbert Kraus zlig, Hui-Woog Choe, Klaus Peter Hofmann & Oliver P. Ernst


See also: Editor's summary | News and Views by Schwartz & Hubbell



Very fast optical flaring from a possible new Galactic magnetar p503

A. Stefanescu, G. Kanbach, A. Sl strokeowikowska, J. Greiner, S. McBreen & G. Sala


See also: Editor's summary | News and Views by Kouveliotou

Flares from a candidate Galactic magnetar suggest a missing link to dim isolated neutron stars p506

A. J. Castro-Tirado, A. de Ugarte Postigo, J. Gorosabel, M. Jelínek, T. A. Fatkhullin, V. V. Sokolov, P. Ferrero, D. A. Kann, S. Klose, D. Sluse, M. Bremer, J. M. Winters, D. Nuernberger, D. Pérez-Ramírez, M. A. Guerrero, J. French, G. Melady, L. Hanlon, B. McBreen, K. Leventis, S. B. Markoff, S. Leon, A. Kraus, F. J. Aceituno, R. Cunniffe, P. Kubánek, S. Vítek, S. Schulze, A. C. Wilson, R. Hudec, M. Durant, J. M. González-Pérez, T. Shahbaz, S. Guziy, S. B. Pandey, L. Pavlenko, E. Sonbas, S. A. Trushkin, N. N. Bursov, N. A. Nizhelskij, C. Sánchez-Fernández & L. Sabau-Graziati


See also: Editor's summary | News and Views by Kouveliotou

Reconstruction of non-classical cavity field states with snapshots of their decoherence p510

Samuel Deléglise, Igor Dotsenko, Clément Sayrin, Julien Bernu, Michel Brune, Jean-Michel Raimond & Serge Haroche


See also: Editor's summary

Magnetization vector manipulation by electric fields p515

D. Chiba, M. Sawicki, Y. Nishitani, Y. Nakatani, F. Matsukura & H. Ohno


See also: Editor's summary | News and Views by Saitoh

Observed and modelled stability of overflow across the Greenland–Scotland ridge p519

Steffen M. Olsen, Bogi Hansen, Detlef Quadfasel & Svein Østerhus


See also: Editor's summary

Intraseasonal interaction between the Madden–Julian Oscillation and the North Atlantic Oscillation p523

Christophe Cassou


See also: Editor's summary

Earliest date for milk use in the Near East and southeastern Europe linked to cattle herding p528

Richard P. Evershed, Sebastian Payne, Andrew G. Sherratt, Mark S. Copley, Jennifer Coolidge, Duska Urem-Kotsu, Kostas Kotsakis, Mehmet Özdog brevean, Aslý E. Özdog brevean, Olivier Nieuwenhuyse, Peter M. M. G. Akkermans, Douglass Bailey, Radian-Romus Andeescu, Stuart Campbell, Shahina Farid, Ian Hodder, Nurcan Yalman, Mihriban Özbas cedilaran, Erhan Bi nodotçakci nodot, Yossef Garfinkel, Thomas Levy & Margie M. Burton


See also: Editor's summary

Neutralizing antibodies derived from the B cells of 1918 influenza pandemic survivors p532

Xiaocong Yu, Tshidi Tsibane, Patricia A. McGraw, Frances S. House, Christopher J. Keefer, Mark D. Hicar, Terrence M. Tumpey, Claudia Pappas, Lucy A. Perrone, Osvaldo Martinez, James Stevens, Ian A. Wilson, Patricia V. Aguilar, Eric L. Altschuler, Christopher F. Basler & James E. Crowe Jr


See also: Editor's summary

Functional auditory hair cells produced in the mammalian cochlea by in utero gene transfer p537

Samuel P. Gubbels, David W. Woessner, John C. Mitchell, Anthony J. Ricci & John V. Brigande


See also: Editor's summary | News and Views by Ulfendahl

FcRn-mediated antibody transport across epithelial cells revealed by electron tomography p542

Wanzhong He, Mark S. Ladinsky, Kathryn E. Huey-Tubman, Grant J. Jensen, J. Richard McIntosh & Pamela J. Björkman


See also: Editor's summary

CDK8 is a colorectal cancer oncogene that regulates beta-catenin activity p547

Ron Firestein, Adam J. Bass, So Young Kim, Ian F. Dunn, Serena J. Silver, Isil Guney, Ellen Freed, Azra H. Ligon, Natalie Vena, Shuji Ogino, Milan G. Chheda, Pablo Tamayo, Stephen Finn, Yashaswi Shrestha, Jesse S. Boehm, Supriya Jain, Emeric Bojarski, Craig Mermel, Jordi Barretina, Jennifer A. Chan, Jose Baselga, Josep Tabernero, David E. Root, Charles S. Fuchs, Massimo Loda, Ramesh A. Shivdasani, Matthew Meyerson & William C. Hahn


See also: Editor's summary | News and Views by Bernards

E2F1 represses beta-catenin transcription and is antagonized by both pRB and CDK8 p552

Erick J. Morris, Jun-Yuan Ji, Fajun Yang, Luisa Di Stefano, Anabel Herr, Nam-Sung Moon, Eun-Jeong Kwon, Kevin M. Haigis, Anders M. Näär & Nicholas J. Dyson


See also: Editor's summary | News and Views by Bernards

Replication fork movement sets chromatin loop size and origin choice in mammalian cells p557

Sylvain Courbet, Sophie Gay, Nausica Arnoult, Gerd Wronka, Mauro Anglana, Olivier Brison & Michelle Debatisse


See also: Editor's summary




Prospects p561

China as both an exporter and an importer of science talent.

Gene Russo


Career View

Stephen Simpson, director of life sciences, Science Foundation Ireland, Dublin, Ireland p562

Immunologist takes circuitous path to Science Foundation Ireland.

Virginia Gewin


Two-body solution p562

Study suggests an upside to the 'two-body problem'.

Virginia Gewin


Professional encounters p562

Interacting with my scientist peers can make me nervous.

Aliza le Roux




The Brown Revolution p564

No longer number two.

Norman Spinrad


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