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Editorials

Do scientists really need a PhD? p7

Young scientists at a Chinese genomics institute are foregoing conventional postgraduate training for the chance to be part of major scientific initiatives. Is this the way of the future?

doi:10.1038/464007a


The ratings game p7

International university rankings need to be improved — and interpreted more wisely.

doi:10.1038/464007b


The bigger picture p8

General science meetings are good opportunities for researchers to broaden their horizons.

doi:10.1038/464008a


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Research Highlights

Biology: Secret code p10

doi:10.1038/464010a


Genetics: Gene guards p10

doi:10.1038/464010b


Nanotechnology: Light DNA machine p10

doi:10.1038/464010c


Electronics: Caught on film p10

doi:10.1038/464010d


Biology: Stayin' alive p10

doi:10.1038/464010e


Astrophysics: Old stars call out p10

doi:10.1038/464010f


Chemical biology: With added sugar p11

doi:10.1038/464011a


Applied physics: Sound lasers hum along p11

doi:10.1038/464011b


Wildlife biology: Lizard back burden p11

doi:10.1038/464011c


Neuroscience: Use it or lose it p11

doi:10.1038/464011d


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Journal Club

Journal club p11

Robert Lucas

doi:10.1038/464011e


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News

News briefing: 4 March 2010 p12

The week in science

doi:10.1038/464012a


Model response to Chile quake? p14

Experts debate how much emergency-response planners should rely on tsunami forecasts.

Quirin Schiermeier

doi:10.1038/464014a


Unmanned planes take wing for science p14

Drones will measure ozone and aerosols in the atmosphere.

Jeff Tollefson

doi:10.1038/464014b


University rankings smarten up p16

Systems for ranking the world's higher-education and research institutions are about to become more sophisticated, says Declan Butler.

Declan Butler

doi:10.1038/464016a


Fat rats skew research results p19

Overfed lab animals make poor subjects for experiments.

Daniel Cressey

doi:10.1038/464019a


The labours of Fotis Kafatos p20

Launching the European Research Council was a Herculean effort, says its outgoing president.

Natasha Gilbert

doi:10.1038/464020a


Weapons labs to thrive as Obama trims nukes p21

President takes first steps towards goal of disarmament.

Jeff Tollefson

doi:10.1038/464021a


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News Features

Chinese bioscience: The sequence factory p22

The bold ambitions of one institute could make China the world leader in genome sequencing. David Cyranoski asks if its science will survive the industrial ramp-up.

doi:10.1038/464022a


Non-proliferation: Borderline detection p26

Georgia's borders are guarded by some of the best radiation detectors available — so why are nuclear smugglers still slipping through? Sharon Weinberger reports.

doi:10.1038/464026a


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Column

World view: Curing climate backlash p28

Effective action on climate requires better politics, not better science, explains Daniel Sarewitz.

Daniel Sarewitz

doi:10.1038/464028a


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Correspondence

South Africa: telescopes raise the nation's sights p30

Patricia Whitelock

doi:10.1038/464030a


South Africa: aiming to be premier global astronomy hub p30

Rob Adam

doi:10.1038/464030b


South Africa: big science should stay on the agenda p30

Steven L. Chown

doi:10.1038/464030c


Myth-busting about first mass-produced human cell line p30

Leonard Hayflick

doi:10.1038/464030d


Spring awakening planned for Mars rover Spirit p31

Steve Squyres

doi:10.1038/464031a


Esaki diode is still a radio star, half a century on p31

Leo Esaki, Yasuhiko Arakawa & Masatoshi Kitamura

doi:10.1038/464031b


Foundations could allocate money more productively p31

Ingrid Eisenstadter

doi:10.1038/464031c


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Opinion

Stop laser uranium enrichment p32

The US Congress should discourage efforts to advance the technology to make fuel for nuclear reactors, say Francis Slakey and Linda R. Cohen — the risks outweigh the benefits.

Francis Slakey & Linda R. Cohen

doi:10.1038/464032a


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Books and Arts

Is there anybody out there? p34

Paul Davies's latest book argues that the search for intelligent life beyond Earth should be expanded. Chris McKay considers why we should look closer to home — perhaps even in our DNA.

Chris McKay reviews The Eerie Silence: Renewing Our Search for Alien Intelligence/Are We Alone In The Universe? by Paul Davies

doi:10.1038/464034a


Why you shouldn't always follow the crowd p35

Mark Buchanan reviews The Perfect Swarm: The Science of Complexity in Everyday Life by Len Fisher

doi:10.1038/464035a


Autism and animal insight p35

Wes Jamison & Clive Wynne review Temple Grandin Directed by Mick Jackson

doi:10.1038/464035b


Q&A: Joanna Cole on writing science books for kids p36

Joanna Cole has authored more than 100 science books for children, including the best-selling Magic School Bus series, the latest edition of which tackles the topic of climate change. In the last of our series of interviews with authors who write science books for different audiences, Cole reveals how clarity and colour can introduce even very young children to science.

Nicola Jones

doi:10.1038/464036a


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News and Views

Behavioural neurobiology: The treacherous scent of a human p37

Mosquitoes' odorant receptors help the insects to find humans and, inadvertently, to transmit malaria. The identification of the odorants that bind to these receptors opens up ways of reducing mosquito biting.

Walter S. Leal

doi:10.1038/464037a

See also: Editor's summary


Microscopy: When mica and water meet p38

A neat mode of operation of the atomic force microscope has been used to probe the interface between mica and water. The results help to settle a long-standing debate about the nature of this interface.

Joost W. M. Frenken & Tjerk H. Oosterkamp

doi:10.1038/464038a


50 & 100 years ago p39

doi:10.1038/464039b


Materials science: Hydrocarbon superconductors p39

Superconductivity has been discovered in the materials that form when alkali metals react with a solid hydrocarbon. This is the first new class of organic, high-temperature superconductor in a decade.

Matthew J. Rosseinsky & Kosmas Prassides

doi:10.1038/464039a

See also: Editor's summary


Clinical immunology: Culprits with evolutionary ties p41

The cellular organelles we know as mitochondria are thought to have originated as symbiotic bacteria. Indeed, the two use common mechanisms to trigger innate immune responses to injury and infection, respectively.

Carolyn S. Calfee & Michael A. Matthay

doi:10.1038/464041a

See also: Editor's summary


Materials science: Mind the helical crack p42

Catastrophic breakage of brittle materials such as ceramics is usually triggered by the rapid spreading of cracks. Computer simulations have now cracked the three-dimensional details of this process.

Markus J. Buehler & Zhiping Xu

doi:10.1038/464042a

See also: Editor's summary


Developmental genetics: Time for teeth p43

Sadaf Shadan

doi:10.1038/464043a


Obituary: Marshall Nirenberg (1927–2010) p44

A humble, gentle and visionary giant of molecular biology.

C. Thomas Caskey

doi:10.1038/464044a


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Review

Quantum computers p45

T. D. Ladd, F. Jelezko, R. Laflamme, Y. Nakamura, C. Monroe & J. L. O’Brien

doi:10.1038/nature08812

See also: Editor's summary


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Articles

Remarkably ancient balanced polymorphisms in a multi-locus gene network p54

Local adaptations are often governed by several interacting genes scattered throughout the genome. Here a novel type of multi–locus genetic variation is described that has been maintained within a species over a vast period of time. A balanced unlinked gene network polymorphism is dissected that involves galactose utilization in a close relative of baker's yeast.

Chris Todd Hittinger, Paula Gonçalves, José Paulo Sampaio, Jim Dover, Mark Johnston & Antonis Rokas

doi:10.1038/nature08791

See also: Editor's summary


A human gut microbial gene catalogue established by metagenomic sequencing p59

Deep metagenomic sequencing and characterization of the human gut microbiome from healthy and obese individuals, as well as those suffering from inflammatory bowel disease, provide the first insights into this gene set and how much of it is shared among individuals. The minimal gut metagenome as well as the minimal gut bacterial genome is also described.

Junjie Qin, Ruiqiang Li, Jeroen Raes, Manimozhiyan Arumugam, Kristoffer Solvsten Burgdorf, Chaysavanh Manichanh, Trine Nielsen, Nicolas Pons, Florence Levenez, Takuji Yamada, Daniel R. Mende, Junhua Li, Junming Xu, Shaochuan Li, Dongfang Li, Jianjun Cao, Bo Wang, Huiqing Liang, Huisong Zheng, Yinlong Xie, Julien Tap, Patricia Lepage, Marcelo Bertalan, Jean-Michel Batto, Torben Hansen, Denis Le Paslier, Allan Linneberg, H. Bjørn Nielsen, Eric Pelletier, Pierre Renault, Thomas Sicheritz-Ponten, Keith Turner, Hongmei Zhu, Chang Yu, Shengting Li, Min Jian, Yan Zhou, Yingrui Li, Xiuqing Zhang, Songgang Li, Nan Qin, Huanming Yang, Jian Wang, Søren Brunak, Joel Doré, Francisco Guarner, Karsten Kristiansen, Oluf Pedersen, Julian Parkhill, Jean Weissenbach, MetaHIT Consortium, Peer Bork, S. Dusko Ehrlich & Jun Wang

doi:10.1038/nature08821

See also: Editor's summary


Odorant reception in the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae p66

Insect vectors of diseases locate their animal hosts through olfaction via largely unknown molecular processes. Here the 'empty neuron' system of genetically engineered Drosophila is used to assign specific odorants to the entire repertoire of olfactory receptors of the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae. The results illuminate ecological and neurobiological differences between mosquitoes and fruitflies and provide new potential molecular targets to boost the struggle against insect–borne diseases.

Allison F. Carey, Guirong Wang, Chih-Ying Su, Laurence J. Zwiebel & John R. Carlson

doi:10.1038/nature08834

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


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Letters

Linking dwarf galaxies to halo building blocks with the most metal-poor star in Sculptor p72

Current models indicate that the Milky Way's stellar halo was assembled from many smaller systems, and recent studies claimed that the true Galactic building blocks must have been vastly different from the surviving dwarfs. But the overall abundance pattern of elements in S1020549, the most iron-poor star in the Sculptor dwarf galaxies, is now found to follow that seen in low-metallicity halo stars, indicating that the systems destroyed to form the halo billions of years ago were not fundamentally different from the progenitors of present-day dwarfs.

Anna Frebel, Evan N. Kirby & Joshua D. Simon

doi:10.1038/nature08772

See also: Editor's summary


Superconductivity in alkali-metal-doped picene p76

The phenomenon of superconductivity continues to intrigue, and several new superconducting materials have been discovered in recent years — but in the case of organic superconductors, no new material system with a high superconducting transition temperature has been identified in the past decade. Now it has been shown that the introduction of potassium into crystals of organic molecule picene can yield superconductivity at temperatures as high as 18 K.

Ryoji Mitsuhashi, Yuta Suzuki, Yusuke Yamanari, Hiroki Mitamura, Takashi Kambe, Naoshi Ikeda, Hideki Okamoto, Akihiko Fujiwara, Minoru Yamaji, Naoko Kawasaki, Yutaka Maniwa & Yoshihiro Kubozono

doi:10.1038/nature08859

See also: Editor's summary | News and Views by Rosseinsky & Prassides


Reinventing germanium avalanche photodetector for nanophotonic on-chip optical interconnects p80

To integrate microchips with optical communications a photodetector is required to mediate the optical and electronic signals. Although germanium photodetectors are compatible with silicon their performance is impaired by poor intrinsic noise. Here the noise is reduced by nanometre engineering of optical and electrical fields to produce a compact and efficient photodetector.

Solomon Assefa, Fengnian Xia & Yurii A. Vlasov

doi:10.1038/nature08813

See also: Editor's summary


Helical crack-front instability in mixed-mode fracture p85

The addition of shear orthogonal to the tension-loading plane of crack propagation generates an instability that results in three-dimensional helical crack propagation, atomically rough surfaces and a fracture pattern resembling a series of lance shapes. Here numerical simulations reveal a new law that governs crack propagation in space for materials subject to general stress conditions.

Antonio J. Pons & Alain Karma

doi:10.1038/nature08862

See also: Editor's summary | News and Views by Buehler & Xu


Metabolic streamlining in an open-ocean nitrogen-fixing cyanobacterium p90

UCYN–A is a recently discovered nitrogen-fixing cyanobacterium with unusual metabolic features. The complete genome of this uncultivated organism is now presented, revealing a photofermentative metabolism and dependency on other organisms for essential compounds.

H. James Tripp, Shellie R. Bench, Kendra A. Turk, Rachel A. Foster, Brian A. Desany, Faheem Niazi, Jason P. Affourtit & Jonathan P. Zehr

doi:10.1038/nature08786

See also: Editor's summary


Ecologically distinct dinosaurian sister group shows early diversification of Ornithodira p95

A new genus and species is described from fragmentary remains of a reptile from the mid–Triassic of Tanzania. The finding clarifies the relationships among the silesaurs. It is among the earliest known ornithodirans (dinosaurs plus pterosaurs), and demonstrates that silesaurs were not two-legged carnivores, as expected, but larger and more herbivorous. Furthermore, the find shows that we still know very little about the earliest stages of dinosaur and pterosaur evolution.

Sterling J. Nesbitt, Christian A. Sidor, Randall B. Irmis, Kenneth D. Angielczyk, Roger M. H. Smith & Linda A. Tsuji

doi:10.1038/nature08718

See also: Editor's summary


Changes in Hox genes’ structure and function during the evolution of the squamate body plan p99

The organization of Hox clusters in several different reptiles is investigated, showing that the Hox clusters in squamates — lizards and snakes — have unexpectedly accumulated transposable elements, reflecting extensive genomic rearrangements of coding and non coding regulatory regions. Comparative expression analyses between two species showing different axial skeletons, the corn snake and the whiptail lizard, revealed major alterations in Hox13 and Hox10 expression features during snake somitogenesis, in line with the expansion of both caudal and thoracic regions.

Nicolas Di-Poï, Juan I. Montoya-Burgos, Hilary Miller, Olivier Pourquié, Michel C. Milinkovitch & Denis Duboule

doi:10.1038/nature08789

See also: Editor's summary


Circulating mitochondrial DAMPs cause inflammatory responses to injury p104

Severe trauma can lead to death and sepsis in the absence of apparent infection. Here evidence shows that mitochondrial debris, released from damaged cells, is present in the circulation of seriously injured trauma patients. Such debris is shown to activate neutrophils via specific formyl peptide receptors, triggering systemic inflammation and end organ injury.

Qin Zhang, Mustafa Raoof, Yu Chen, Yuka Sumi, Tolga Sursal, Wolfgang Junger, Karim Brohi, Kiyoshi Itagaki & Carl J. Hauser

doi:10.1038/nature08780

See also: Editor's summary | News and Views by Calfee & Matthay


Haematopoietic stem cells derive directly from aortic endothelium during development p108

One of two papers showing the generation of haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) from the ventral wall of the dorsal aorta in live zebrafish embryos. Here, combined fluorescent reporter transgenes, confocal time-lapse microscopy and flow cytometry identify and isolate the stepwise intermediates as aortic haemogenic endothelium transitions to nascent HSCs. HSCs generated from this haemogenic endothelium are the lineal founders of virtually all of the adult haematopoietic system.

Julien Y. Bertrand, Neil C. Chi, Buyung Santoso, Shutian Teng, Didier Y. R. Stainier & David Traver

doi:10.1038/nature08738

See also: Editor's summary


Blood stem cells emerge from aortic endothelium by a novel type of cell transition p112

One of two papers showing the generation of haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) from the ventral wall of the dorsal aorta in live zebrafish embryos. Here, using imaging of live zebrafish, HSCs are shown to emerge directly from the aorta floor. This process does not involve cell division but movement of single endothelial cells out of the aorta ventral wall into the sub aortic space, where they transform into haematopoietic cells.

Karima Kissa & Philippe Herbomel

doi:10.1038/nature08761

See also: Editor's summary


In vivo imaging of haematopoietic cells emerging from the mouse aortic endothelium p116

De novo emergence of phenotypically defined haematopoietic stem cells (Sca1+, c kit+, CD41+) directly from ventral aortic haemogenic endothelial cells is shown in mice. Although the study did not visualize live embryos, it instead developed a dissection procedure to visualize the deeply located aorta.

Jean-Charles Boisset, Wiggert van Cappellen, Charlotte Andrieu-Soler, Niels Galjart, Elaine Dzierzak & Catherine Robin

doi:10.1038/nature08764

See also: Editor's summary


SIRT3 regulates mitochondrial fatty-acid oxidation by reversible enzyme deacetylation p121

During fasting SIRT3 is induced in liver and brown adipose tissue. One of SIRT3's substrates is shown to be long–chain acyl co-enzyme A dehydrogenase (LCAD). Without SIRT3 LCAD becomes hyperacetylated, which diminishes its activity, and reduces fatty acid oxidation. Mice without SIRT3 have all the hallmarks of fatty acid oxidation disorders during fasting, including reduced ATP levels and intolerance to cold. Thus, acetylation is a novel regulatory mechanism for fatty acid oxidation.

Matthew D. Hirschey, Tadahiro Shimazu, Eric Goetzman, Enxuan Jing, Bjoern Schwer, David B. Lombard, Carrie A. Grueter, Charles Harris, Sudha Biddinger, Olga R. Ilkayeva, Robert D. Stevens, Yu Li, Asish K. Saha, Neil B. Ruderman, James R. Bain, Christopher B. Newgard, Robert V. Farese Jr, Frederick W. Alt, C. Ronald Kahn & Eric Verdin

doi:10.1038/nature08778

See also: Editor's summary


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Corrigendum

Opposing microRNA families regulate self-renewal in mouse embryonic stem cells p126

Collin Melton, Robert L. Judson & Robert Blelloch

doi:10.1038/nature08887


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Naturejobs

Careers and Recruitment

Cultivating new talent p128

Concerns about food shortages, land use, climate change and biodiversity have created a huge need for interdisciplinary researchers focused on agriculture. Virginia Gewin investigates the opportunities.

Virginia Gewin

doi:10.1038/nj7285-128a


Correction p130

doi:10.1038/nj7285-130a


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Futures

Transitions p132

Different business models for difficult times.

Dan Erlanson

doi:10.1038/464132a


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