Table of contents

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Call for a bigger vision p135

Science in Canada cannot realize its full potential without clear direction from government.


Lessons from a pandemic p135

It is time to assess what worked, and what didn't, in the global efforts to cope with swine flu.


Security ethics p136

Manufacturers of computer systems should welcome researchers' efforts to find flaws.



Research Highlights

Biology: Snakes face the heat p138


Neuroscience: Brain cell gain and cocaine p138


Materials science: Sequencing with carbon p138


Cancer biology: Kicking out cancer cells p138


Geoscience: Extraterrestrial dust p138


Biogeochemistry: DDT in the ocean p138


Immunology: Double punch for HIV p139


Neuroscience: Dark migraine relief p139


Molecular biology: Flowering time unravelled p139


Drug discovery: Virtual antibiotic screen p139


Correction p139



Journal Club

Journal club p139

Monica Gotta




News briefing: 14 January 2010 p140

The week in science


Publish or perish in China p142

The pressure to rack up publications in high-impact journals could encourage misconduct, some say.

Jane Qiu


Streamlined chemical tests rebuffed p142

Europe impedes introduction of REACH safety assessments.

Natasha Gilbert


Disease epidemic killing only US bats p144

Fungal infection linked with high mortality in the United States, whereas infected European bats seem fine.

Lizzie Buchen


Trace that metal p145

Collaboration launches effort to track marine nutrients.

Mark Schrope


Pulsar watchers race for gravity waves p147

Radio telescopes vie with laser detectors to hunt for signs of massive cosmic collisions.

Eric Hand


Two new journals copy the old p148

Volunteer with publisher says duplication was a technical 'mistake'.

Katharine Sanderson


The fickle Y chromosome p149

Chimp genome reveals rapid rate of change.

Lizzie Buchen



News Features

Swine flu: Crisis communicator p150

Richard Besser led the United States' top public-health agency as swine flu broke out on its doorstep. And his communication shaped the early days of a pandemic, finds Brendan Maher.


Neuroscience: The most vulnerable brains p154

An increase in premature births means that more babies are at risk of neurological damage. Erika Check Hayden talks with researchers who are developing ways to help these children.




Journal Editorials give indication of driving science issues p157

Cathelijn J. F. Waaijer, Cornelis A. van Bochove & Nees Jan van Eck


Let interdisciplinary research begin in undergraduate years p157

C. H. Tong


Spanish cuts could do lasting damage to biomedical research p157

Juan Pablo Albar


To make progress we must remember and learn from the past p157

Bart Penders, Niki Vermeulen & John N. Parker




Canada needs a polar policy p159

A lack of coordination in Arctic research funding leaves scientists without the support they need for fieldwork. John England outlines how Canada can set things right, and show leadership in the north.

John England



Books and Arts

No crystal ball for natural disasters p160

Floods and fires aside, the tricky science of prediction is explained in a book that treads a careful line between analysis and anecdotes of awful events, says Andrew Robinson.

Andrew Robinson reviews Megadisasters: The Science of Predicting the Next Catastrophe by Florin Diacu


The art of animal colouring p161

Leena Lindström reviews Dazzled and Deceived: Mimicry and Camouflage by Peter Forbes


Distorting the climate message p161

Candis Callison reviews Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming by James Hoggan & Richard Littlemore


Georgia's fossils on view p162

Katherine Barnes reviews Dmanisi Archaeological Site



News and Views

Climate: A moist model monsoon p163

Received wisdom about the main driver of the South Asian monsoon comes into question with a report that tests the idea that the Himalayas, not the Tibetan plateau, are the essential topographic ingredient.

Mark A. Cane


See also: Editor's summary

Biochemistry: Tackling unintelligent design p164

The key enzyme in photosynthesis, Rubisco, is a relic of a bygone age. The ability to assemble Rubisco in the test tube offers the prospect of genetically manipulating the enzyme to make it fit for the modern world.

R. John Ellis


See also: Editor's summary

Behavioural ecology: Learn to beat an identity cheat p165

Parent birds commonly face the problem of distinguishing their own brood from foreign chicks. Learnt chick-recognition evolves only when parents do not mistakenly learn to reject their own young.

Rebecca Kilner


See also: Editor's summary

50 & 100 years ago p166


Galaxy formation: Gone with the wind? p167

Windy weather is forecast where stars are forming. Numerical simulations show that these winds can reshape dwarf galaxies, reconciling their properties with the prevailing theory of galaxy formation.

Marla Geha


See also: Editor's summary

Bioinorganic chemistry: Model offers intermediate insight p168

Chemical models of enzymes' active sites aid our understanding of biological reactions. Such a model of a reaction intermediate promises to advance our knowledge of the biochemistry of iron-containing haem enzymes.

Kenneth D. Karlin


Neuroscience: Astrocytes as aide-mémoires p169

Memory formation is known to occur at the level of synaptic contacts between neurons. It therefore comes as a surprise that another type of brain cell, the astrocyte, is also involved in establishing memory.

Mirko Santello & Andrea Volterra


See also: Editor's summary



Main-group elements as transition metals p171

Philip P. Power


See also: Editor's summary



Genome sequence of the palaeopolyploid soybean p178

Soybean is an important crop plant, providing seed protein and oil and fixing atmospheric nitrogen through symbioses with soil-borne microorganisms. Using a whole-genome shotgun approach, its 1.1-gigabase genome is now sequenced and integrated with physical and high-density genetic maps to create a chromosome-scale draft sequence assembly.

Jeremy Schmutz, Steven B. Cannon, Jessica Schlueter, Jianxin Ma, Therese Mitros, William Nelson, David L. Hyten, Qijian Song, Jay J. Thelen, Jianlin Cheng, Dong Xu, Uffe Hellsten, Gregory D. May, Yeisoo Yu, Tetsuya Sakurai, Taishi Umezawa, Madan K. Bhattacharyya, Devinder Sandhu, Babu Valliyodan, Erika Lindquist, Myron Peto, David Grant, Shengqiang Shu, David Goodstein, Kerrie Barry, Montona Futrell-Griggs, Brian Abernathy, Jianchang Du, Zhixi Tian, Liucun Zhu, Navdeep Gill, Trupti Joshi, Marc Libault, Anand Sethuraman, Xue-Cheng Zhang, Kazuo Shinozaki, Henry T. Nguyen, Rod A. Wing, Perry Cregan, James Specht, Jane Grimwood, Dan Rokhsar, Gary Stacey, Randy C. Shoemaker & Scott A. Jackson


See also: Editor's summary

A small-cell lung cancer genome with complex signatures of tobacco exposure p184

Tobacco smoke contains more than sixty carcinogens that bind and mutate DNA. Here, massively parallel sequencing technology is used to sequence a small-cell lung cancer cell line, exploring the mutational burden associated with tobacco smoking. Multiple mutation signatures from the cocktail of carcinogens in tobacco smoke are found, as well as evidence of transcription-coupled repair and another, more general, expression-linked repair pathway.

Erin D. Pleasance, Philip J. Stephens, Sarah O’Meara, David J. McBride, Alison Meynert, David Jones, Meng-Lay Lin, David Beare, King Wai Lau, Chris Greenman, Ignacio Varela, Serena Nik-Zainal, Helen R. Davies, Gonzalo R. Ordoñez, Laura J. Mudie, Calli Latimer, Sarah Edkins, Lucy Stebbings, Lina Chen, Mingming Jia, Catherine Leroy, John Marshall, Andrew Menzies, Adam Butler, Jon W. Teague, Jonathon Mangion, Yongming A. Sun, Stephen F. McLaughlin, Heather E. Peckham, Eric F. Tsung, Gina L. Costa, Clarence C. Lee, John D. Minna, Adi Gazdar, Ewan Birney, Michael D. Rhodes, Kevin J. McKernan, Michael R. Stratton, P. Andrew Futreal & Peter J. Campbell


See also: Editor's summary

A comprehensive catalogue of somatic mutations from a human cancer genome p191

Here, the genomes of a malignant melanoma and a lymphoblastoid cell line from the same person are sequenced, providing the first comprehensive catalogue of somatic mutations from an individual cancer. The data provide insight into the causes of tumour formation and the development of the cancer genome, with the dominant mutational signature reflecting DNA damage due to ultraviolet light exposure.

Erin D. Pleasance, R. Keira Cheetham, Philip J. Stephens, David J. McBride, Sean J. Humphray, Chris D. Greenman, Ignacio Varela, Meng-Lay Lin, Gonzalo R. Ordóñez, Graham R. Bignell, Kai Ye, Julie Alipaz, Markus J. Bauer, David Beare, Adam Butler, Richard J. Carter, Lina Chen, Anthony J. Cox, Sarah Edkins, Paula I. Kokko-Gonzales, Niall A. Gormley, Russell J. Grocock, Christian D. Haudenschild, Matthew M. Hims, Terena James, Mingming Jia, Zoya Kingsbury, Catherine Leroy, John Marshall, Andrew Menzies, Laura J. Mudie, Zemin Ning, Tom Royce, Ole B. Schulz-Trieglaff, Anastassia Spiridou, Lucy A. Stebbings, Lukasz Szajkowski, Jon Teague, David Williamson, Lynda Chin, Mark T. Ross, Peter J. Campbell, David R. Bentley, P. Andrew Futreal & Michael R. Stratton


See also: Editor's summary

Coupled chaperone action in folding and assembly of hexadecameric Rubisco p197

Form I Rubisco, one of the most abundant proteins in nature, catalyses the fixation of atmospheric CO2 in photosynthesis. The limited catalytic efficiency of Rubisco has sparked extensive efforts to re-engineer the enzyme to enhance agricultural productivity. To bring this goal closer, the formation of cyanobacterial form I Rubisco is now analysed by in vitro reconstitution and cryo-electron microscopy.

Cuimin Liu, Anna L. Young, Amanda Starling-Windhof, Andreas Bracher, Sandra Saschenbrecker, Bharathi Vasudeva Rao, Karnam Vasudeva Rao, Otto Berninghausen, Thorsten Mielke, F. Ulrich Hartl, Roland Beckmann & Manajit Hayer-Hartl


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



Bulgeless dwarf galaxies and dark matter cores from supernova-driven outflows p203

The properties of 'dwarf' galaxies have long challenged the cold dark matter (CDM) model of galaxy formation, as the properties of most observed dwarf galaxies contrast with models based on the dominance of CDM. Here, hydrodynamical simulations (assuming the presence of CDM) are reported in which the analogues of dwarf galaxies — bulgeless and with shallow central dark-matter profiles — arise naturally.

F. Governato, C. Brook, L. Mayer, A. Brooks, G. Rhee, J. Wadsley, P. Jonsson, B. Willman, G. Stinson, T. Quinn & P. Madau


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

A large coronal loop in the Algol system p207

The close binary Algol system contains a radio-bright KIV sub-giant star in a very close and rapid orbit with a main sequence B8 star. Evidence points to the existence of an extended, complex coronal magnetosphere originating at the cooler K subgiant, but the detailed morphology of the subgiant's corona and its possible interaction with its companion are unknown. Multi-epoch radio imaging of the Algol system now reveals a large coronal loop suggestive of a persistent asymmetric magnetic field structure aligned between the two stars.

W. M. Peterson, R. L. Mutel, M. Güdel & W. M. Goss


See also: Editor's summary

Time-reversal symmetry breaking and spontaneous Hall effect without magnetic dipole order p210

Chiral spin liquids are a hypothetical class of spin liquids in which time-reversal symmetry is macroscopically broken even in the absence of an applied magnetic field or any magnetic dipole long-range order. Although such spin-liquid states were proposed more than two decades ago, they remain elusive. Here, evidence is presented that the time-reversal symmetry can be broken spontaneously on a macroscopic scale in the absence of magnetic dipole long-range order, suggesting the emergence of a chiral spin liquid.

Yo Machida, Satoru Nakatsuji, Shigeki Onoda, Takashi Tayama & Toshiro Sakakibara


See also: Editor's summary

Three-dimensional structure determination from a single view p214

Most schemes for three-dimensional (3D) structure determination of an object require multiple measurements over various orientations, or a means of scanning it section by section. A 3D imaging modality, termed ankylography, is now presented that under certain circumstances enables complete 3D structure determination from a single diffraction measurement. This approach could find broad applications in the physical and life sciences.

Kevin S. Raines, Sara Salha, Richard L. Sandberg, Huaidong Jiang, Jose A. Rodríguez, Benjamin P. Fahimian, Henry C. Kapteyn, Jincheng Du & Jianwei Miao


See also: Editor's summary

Dominant control of the South Asian monsoon by orographic insulation versus plateau heating p218

The elevation of the Tibetan plateau is thought to cause its surface to serve as a heat source that drives the South Asian summer monsoon, potentially coupling uplift of the plateau to climate changes on geologic timescales. Here, however, an atmospheric model is used to show that flattening of the Tibetan plateau has little effect on the monsoon, provided that the narrow orography of the Himalayas and adjacent mountain ranges is preserved.

William R. Boos & Zhiming Kuang


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

Coots use hatch order to learn to recognize and reject conspecific brood parasitic chicks p223

Why hosts of brood parasites generally fail to recognize parasitic offspring after they have hatched from the egg, even when the host and parasitic chicks are very different, remains a puzzle. American coots are now shown to use first-hatched chicks in a brood as referents to learn to recognize their own chicks and discriminate against later-hatched parasitic chicks. A lack of reliable information may explain why the evolution of such chick recognition is not more common.

Daizaburo Shizuka & Bruce E. Lyon


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

Identification of an aggression-promoting pheromone and its receptor neurons in Drosophila p227

Although aggression is known to be regulated by pheromones in many animal species, in no system have the pheromones, their receptors and corresponding sensory neurons been identified. Here, 11-cis-vaccenyl acetate (cVA), a volatile pheromone produced by male fruitflies, is shown to promote male-to-male aggression through the activation of olfactory sensory neurons expressing the receptor Or67d.

Liming Wang & David J. Anderson


See also: Editor's summary

Long-term potentiation depends on release of d-serine from astrocytes p232

The involvement of astroglia in long-term potentiation (LTP) of synaptic transmission remains controversial. Clamping internal Ca2+ in individual astrocytes in the CA1 area of the hippocampus is now shown to block LTP induction at nearby excitatory synapses through an effect on the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor. This LTP blockade can be reversed by exogenous D-serine, normally released in a Ca2+-dependent manner from astrocytes.

Christian Henneberger, Thomas Papouin, Stéphane H. R. Oliet & Dmitri A. Rusakov


See also: Editor's summary | News and Views by Santello & Volterra

KAP1 controls endogenous retroviruses in embryonic stem cells p237

Much of the mammalian genome is derived from retroelements, a significant proportion of which are endogenous retroviruses (ERVs). ERVs are transcriptionally silenced during early embryogenesis by histone and DNA methylation, but the initiators of this process are largely unknown. Here, deletion of KAP1 is shown to lead to a marked upregulation of a range of ERVs in mouse embryonic stem cells and in early embryos.

Helen M. Rowe, Johan Jakobsson, Daniel Mesnard, Jacques Rougemont, Séverine Reynard, Tugce Aktas, Pierre V. Maillard, Hillary Layard-Liesching, Sonia Verp, Julien Marquis, François Spitz, Daniel B. Constam & Didier Trono


See also: Editor's summary

Stomagen positively regulates stomatal density in Arabidopsis p241

Stomata are specialized structures in the epidermal layer of leaves that regulate the exchange of gases between the plant and the atmosphere. One or more positive intercellular signalling factors are assumed to be involved in stomatal development, but their identities remain elusive. A novel secretory protein — named stomagen — is now shown to be just such a factor; it is conserved among vascular plants and positively regulates stomatal density.

Shigeo S. Sugano, Tomoo Shimada, Yu Imai, Katsuya Okawa, Atsushi Tamai, Masashi Mori & Ikuko Hara-Nishimura


See also: Editor's summary

An allosteric mechanism of Rho-dependent transcription termination p245

Rho is a general transcription termination factor in bacteria, but the mechanism by which it disrupts the RNA polymerase (RNAP) elongation complex is unknown. Here, Rho is shown to bind tightly to the RNAP throughout the transcription cycle, with the formation of the RNAP–Rho complex being crucial for termination. Furthermore, RNAP is proposed to have an active role in Rho termination through an allosteric mechanism.

Vitaly Epshtein, Dipak Dutta, Joseph Wade & Evgeny Nudler


See also: Editor's summary

Structural basis for the photoconversion of a phytochrome to the activated Pfr form p250

Phytochromes regulate numerous photoresponses in plants and microorganisms through their ability to photointerconvert between a red-light-absorbing, ground state (Pf) and a far-red-light-absorbing, photoactivated state (Pfr). The structures of several phytochromes as Pf have been determined previously; here, the three-dimensional solution structure of the bilin-binding domain as Pfr is described. The results shed light on the structural basis for photoconversion to the activated Pfr form.

Andrew T. Ulijasz, Gabriel Cornilescu, Claudia C. Cornilescu, Junrui Zhang, Mario Rivera, John L. Markley & Richard D. Vierstra


See also: Editor's summary




Career crises p257

The past year's postdoc journal keepers face familiar dilemmas, writes Gene Russo.

Gene Russo



Spanish reform will help foreign researchers p257

Non-EU researchers will find visa approval faster and easier.

Cristina Jiménez


Careers and Recruitment

From steel to science p258

Pittsburgh's universities are helping the city to emerge from its Rust Belt roots and forge a knowledge economy. Paul Smaglik reports.

Paul Smaglik




Tough crowd p262

It's no joke.

Marko Jankovic


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