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Lessons from Antarctica p781

Twenty years on, the success of the Montreal Protocol can help inform plans to mitigate climate change.


A change of tone p781

There is every reason to be optimistic about the Obama administration's attitude towards science.



Research Highlights

Canine genetics: Stray genes p782


Cancer biology: Suicide by nucleotide p782


Atmospheric chemistry: Isoprene's fate p782


Physics: Salt mined p782


Speciation: Multiplying effects p782


Neurobiology: Have guts, get nerve p783


Evolution: Reinventing the egg p783


Soil ecology: As different as day and night p783


Molecular biology: A regulator's regulator p783



Journal Club

Journal club p783

Omar Tonsi Eldakar




LHC hopes for collisions by Christmas p784

But particle physicists will have to scale back the energies of their experiments for years.

Eric Hand


Science advisers mull priorities p785

Climate change and energy are high on the agenda for Obama's panel.

Alexandra Witze & Lizzie Buchen


Ice-core researchers hope to chill out p786

Fresh freezers needed to preserve ancient gas, scientists say.

Rex Dalton


Flu database rocked by legal row p786

Dispute over ownership raises concerns among flu scientists.

Declan Butler


Climate data spat intensifies p787

Growing demands for access to information swamp scientist.

Olive Heffernan


Return of the rat p788

European investment could see knock-out rats catching up with mutant mice in medical research.

Alison Abbott


Satellite data show Indian water stocks shrinking p789

Groundwater depletion raises spectre of shortages.

Quirin Schiermeier


Europe prepares for drugs from GM plants p791


Presidential panel lays out options for NASA's future p791


Batteries feel the benefit of green car money p791


Stalled science buildings restart in California p791


German scientists found guilty of negligence p791


Novartis targeted by animal-rights extremists p791



News Feature

Atmospheric science: Fixing the sky p792

When nations made plans to save the ozone layer, they didn't factor in global warming. Quirin Schiermeier reports on how two environmental problems complicate each other.




Ape and human similarities can be deceptive p796

Jonathan Marks


Speed of reporting isn't the issue when your work is scooped p796

Ian M. Brooks


European bodies can help to tackle TB worldwide p796

Robin Fears, Alimuddin Zumla & Volker ter Meulen



Books and Arts

Africa's biotechnology battle p797

An influential book accuses Europe of keeping genetically modified crops out of Africa, but, by polarizing the debate, it undermines efforts to improve the continent's agriculture, warn Ian Scoones and Dominic Glover.

Ian Scoones & Dominic Glover review Starved for Science: How Biotechnology Is Being Kept Out of Africa by Robert Paarlberg


The world in a grain of sand p798

Andrew Robinson reviews Sand: A Journey through Science and the Imagination by Michael Welland


D-Day forecast fictionalized p799

Philip Ball reviews Turbulence by Giles Foden


Bling of the Bactrians p800

Josie Glausiusz reviews Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul



News and Views

Mathematical physics: A tight squeeze p801

How can identical particles be crammed together as densely as possible? A combination of theory and computer simulations shows how the answer to this intricate problem depends on the shape of the particles.

Henry Cohn


See also: Editor's summary

Stem cells: Escaping fates with open states p802

The ability of embryonic stem cells to give rise to any cell type relies on a remodelling protein that maintains open chromatin. But the chromatin landscape of these cells may be more complex than previously thought.

Robert J. Sims III & Danny Reinberg


See also: Editor's summary

Ecology: Elementary factors p803

The identification of a general connection between biogeochemistry and the structure of food webs would constitute a considerable advance in understanding ecosystems. Ecologists are on the case.

Josep Peñuelas & Jordi Sardans


Cancer: More than kin and less than kind p804

A gene that is found to be mutated in a type of blood cancer exhibits properties of both a growth-suppressing tumour suppressor and a growth-promoting oncogene.

Kevin Shannon & Mignon Loh


See also: Editor's summary

Chemical biology: Protein picker p805

Andrew Mitchinson


50 & 100 years ago p807


Microbial genetics: Love the one you're with p807

Candida albicans is notorious as an opportunistic microbe that causes thrush and serious systemic disease. For geneticists, however, it offers continuing revelations into the wondrously varied sex lives of fungi.

Joseph Heitman


See also: Editor's summary


News and Views Q&A

Technology: Hydrogen-fuelled vehicles p809

Hydrogen is hailed as a non-polluting synthetic fuel that could replace oil, especially for transport applications. The technology to make this a reality — particularly hydrogen-storage materials — has been a long time coming, but the first commercial vehicles might now be only a few years away.

Louis Schlapbach



Insight: Metalloproteins

Produced with support from:

Insight: Metalloproteins

Metalloproteins p813

Joshua Finkelstein


Structure–function relationships of anaerobic gas-processing metalloenzymes p814

Juan C. Fontecilla-Camps, Patricia Amara, Christine Cavazza, Yvain Nicolet & Anne Volbeda


Metalloproteins and metal sensing p823

Kevin J. Waldron, Julian C. Rutherford, Dianne Ford & Nigel J. Robinson


Function and biogenesis of iron–sulphur proteins p831

Roland Lill


Molybdenum cofactors, enzymes and pathways p839

Günter Schwarz, Ralf R. Mendel & Markus W. Ribbe


Mechanistic considerations of halogenating enzymes p848

Alison Butler & Moriah Sandy


Design of functional metalloproteins p855

Yi Lu, Natasha Yeung, Nathan Sieracki & Nicholas M. Marshall




Chd1 regulates open chromatin and pluripotency of embryonic stem cells p863

A hallmark of stem cells is an open chromatin largely devoid of heterochromatin, but which molecules are required to maintain it is unknown, as well as whether an open chromatin is necessary for the differentiation potential of stem cells. Here, the chromatin remodelling factor Chd1 is shown to be required to maintain the open chromatin state of pluripotent mouse embryonic stem cells and to be essential for the pluripotency of these cells.

Alexandre Gaspar-Maia, Adi Alajem, Fanny Polesso, Rupa Sridharan, Mike J. Mason, Amy Heidersbach, João Ramalho-Santos, Michael T. McManus, Kathrin Plath, Eran Meshorer & Miguel Ramalho-Santos


See also: Editor's summary | News and Views by Sims III & Reinberg



The diversity of type Ia supernovae from broken symmetries p869

The near uniformity of the light curves of type Ia supernovae makes them good 'standard candles' for measuring cosmic expansion, but a correction must be applied to account for the fact that the brighter ones have broader light curves. Here, multi-dimensional modelling of the explosion physics and radioactive transfer reveals that failing to correct for an effect on the slope and normalization of the width–luminosity relation could lead to systematic overestimates of up to 2% of the distance to remote supernovae.

D. Kasen, F. K. Röpke & S. E. Woosley


See also: Editor's summary

Storms in the tropics of Titan p873

The presence of small-scale channels and dry riverbeds at latitudes thought incapable of supporting convection on Saturn's moon Titan has therefore been suggested to be due to mechanisms unrelated to precipitation. Here, however, the presence of bright, transient, tropospheric clouds in tropical latitudes is reported. It is thought that convective pulses at one latitude can trigger short-term convection at other latitudes, resulting in methane rain.

E. L. Schaller, H. G. Roe, T. Schneider & M. E. Brown


See also: Editor's summary

Dense packings of the Platonic and Archimedean solids p876

Kepler's conjecture gives the densest possible packing for spherical particles but, until now, there has not been an analogous system for determining dense polyhedral packings. Using a variety of multiparticle initial configurations it has now been possible to determine the densest known packings for the Platonic solids and to conjecture that those of Platonic and Archimedean solids with central symmetry are given by their corresponding densest lattice packings.

S. Torquato & Y. Jiao


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

Atlantic hurricanes and climate over the past 1,500 years p880

Tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic, as measured by annual storm counts, reached unusually high levels over the past decade. This recent activity is now placed in a longer-term context by comparing two independent estimates of hurricane activity over the past 1,500 years; there is evidence of a peak in Atlantic tropical cyclone activity during medieval times (around AD 1000) that rivals or exceeds recent levels of activity.

Michael E. Mann, Jonathan D. Woodruff, Jeffrey P. Donnelly & Zhihua Zhang


See also: Editor's summary

Glacial effects limiting mountain height p884

There are indications that the general height of mountain ranges is directly influenced by the extent of glaciation through an efficient denudation mechanism known as the glacial buzzsaw. Here, a global analysis of topography shows that variations in maximum mountain height correlate closely with climate-controlled gradients in snowline altitude rather than with tectonic activity. Further, the use of a numerical model self-consistently produces the hypsometric signature of the glacial buzzsaw.

D. L. Egholm, S. B. Nielsen, V. K. Pedersen & J.-E. Lesemann


See also: Editor's summary

Pelvic claspers confirm chondrichthyan-like internal fertilization in arthrodires p888

The placoderms are a large group of primitive armoured fishes, which, although now extinct, could shed light on the evolution of jawed vertebrates. Recent fossil finds have been discovered with embryos, illustrating that fertilization was internal, but direct evidence for this was missing. Here, the discovery of a completely ossified pelvic clasper in a male Incisoscutum ritchiei confirms internal fertilization in arthrodires, a large and important placoderm group.

Per Ahlberg, Kate Trinajstic, Zerina Johanson & John Long


See also: Editor's summary

Homothallic and heterothallic mating in the opportunistic pathogen Candida albicans p890

Until recently, the human pathogenic yeast Candida albicans was thought to be strictly asexual, existing only as an obligate diploid. However, here it is shown that under specific conditions — in the absence of the secreted protease Bar1 — efficient same-sex mating can take place.

Kevin Alby, Dana Schaefer & Richard J. Bennett


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

Programming cells by multiplex genome engineering and accelerated evolution p894

Genomic diversity is difficult to generate in the laboratory in an efficient way. Here, multiplex automated genome engineering (MAGE) is described for large-scale programming and evolution of cells. It is an automated and efficient approach that expedites the design and evolution of organisms with new and improved properties.

Harris H. Wang, Farren J. Isaacs, Peter A. Carr, Zachary Z. Sun, George Xu, Craig R. Forest & George M. Church


See also: Editor's summary

Intrinsic light response of retinal horizontal cells of teleosts p899

It has recently become apparent that rods and cones are not the only photoreceptors in mammals. A third class, known as intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells, use the photopigment melanopsin and mediate non-image-forming visual functions such as circadian photoentrainment. In teleost fish, a subset of horizontal cells is now shown to be photosensitive; the photopigment responsible for this seems to be melanopsin.

Ning Cheng, Takashi Tsunenari & King-Wai Yau


See also: Editor's summary

Gain-of-function of mutated C-CBL tumour suppressor in myeloid neoplasms p904

Acquired uniparental disomy (aUPD), a common feature of cancer genomes, is associated with gain-of-function mutations of proto-oncogenes as well as with loss-of-function mutations of tumour suppressor genes. Here, gain-of-function mutations of the C-CBL tumour suppressor are shown to be tightly associated with aUPD of the 11q arm in certain myeloid neoplasms.

Masashi Sanada, Takahiro Suzuki, Lee-Yung Shih, Makoto Otsu, Motohiro Kato, Satoshi Yamazaki, Azusa Tamura, Hiroaki Honda, Mamiko Sakata-Yanagimoto, Keiki Kumano, Hideaki Oda, Tetsuya Yamagata, Junko Takita, Noriko Gotoh, Kumi Nakazaki, Norihiko Kawamata, Masafumi Onodera, Masaharu Nobuyoshi, Yasuhide Hayashi, Hiroshi Harada, Mineo Kurokawa, Shigeru Chiba, Hiraku Mori, Keiya Ozawa, Mitsuhiro Omine, Hisamaru Hirai, Hiromitsu Nakauchi, H. Phillip Koeffler & Seishi Ogawa


See also: Editor's summary | News and Views by Shannon & Loh

A role for Lin28 in primordial germ-cell development and germ-cell malignancy p909

In order to investigate the earliest molecular mechanisms of germ cell specification, mouse embryonic stem cells were differentiated into putative primordial germ cells (PGCs) in vitro. The use of inhibitory RNAs to then screen candidate genes for effects on the development of these cells demonstrates a genetic pathway for PGC specification involving Lin28, a negative regulator of let-7 microRNA processing.

Jason A. West, Srinivas R. Viswanathan, Akiko Yabuuchi, Kerianne Cunniff, Ayumu Takeuchi, In-Hyun Park, Julia E. Sero, Hao Zhu, Antonio Perez-Atayde, A. Lindsay Frazier, M. Azim Surani & George Q. Daley


See also: Editor's summary

Multiple roles for MRE11 at uncapped telomeres p914

The ends of linear eukaryotic chromosomes are capped by sequences known as telomeres. Although telomeres are essentially one half of a DNA double-strand break, which is a pathogenic lesion that must be repaired, telomeres do not normally activate DNA damage repair pathways. Here, the three-member MRN complex is shown to serve two roles at the telomere: it protects newly synthesized telomeric ends from repair factors and it promotes a type of fusion repair when the telomere is not functioning properly.

Yibin Deng, Xiaolan Guo, David O. Ferguson & Sandy Chang


See also: Editor's summary




Canadian changes in the air p920

British Columbia aims to become a leader in clean-energy technology. Virginia Gewin tracks progress.

Virginia Gewin




Bombs away! p924

Happy landings.

Paul Di Filippo


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