Table of contents

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A question of trust p7

It isn't enough to explain the facts of climate change very, very clearly. Building public trust requires researchers to change their practices.


Order from chaos p7

Much tighter regulations are needed to reap the full benefits of stem-cell treatments.


When blogs make sense p8

Biologists and astronomers approach data sharing differently, but both need better public outreach.



Research Highlights

Ecology: Don't damage dingoes p10


Cancer genomics: Prognostic sign p10


Microbiology: Independent living p10


Astronomy: No planetary X-ray pull p10


Immunology: Gene plus virus p10


Genetics: Gene plus gene p10


Organic chemistry: Trifluoro triumph p11


Cancer genomics: Probing prostate cancer p11


Neuroscience: Snakes on the brain p11


Evolutionary biology: Meat-eating tadpoles p11



Journal Club

Journal club p11

Marcelo A. Nobrega




News briefing: 25 June–1 July 2010 p12

The week in science.


What will get sick from the slick? p14

Nature investigates five of the Gulf of Mexico's signature species.

Melissa Gaskill


Space capsule probed for asteroid dust p16

Hayabusa holds lessons for future sample-return missions.

David Cyranoski


Strikes could 'break' Italy's universities p16

Action by junior staff would cripple teaching.

Alison Abbott


Stem-cell furore erupts p17

Data analysis ignites public row.

Alison Abbott


G8 revisits maternal and child deaths p18

More funds pledged at summit for the two UN Millennium Development Goals farthest from their targets.

Alison Motluk


Gas to displace coal on road to clean energy p19

Natural reserves pave way to low-carbon future.

Jeff Tollefson


Strong medicine for French research p20

The medical-research adviser to France's president aims to shift power and money to universities.

Declan Butler



Correction p20



News Features

Profile: The field medic p22

When emergencies happen in remote settings, field researchers can be left with little recourse. Erik Vance meets a man trying to change that.


Climate science: An erosion of trust? p24

Many climate researchers worry that scepticism about global warming is on the rise. Jeff Tollefson investigates the basis for that concern and what scientists are doing about it.




Entertaining science p27

Efforts by the US National Academy of Sciences to popularize science through movies will sanitize it as well, says Daniel Sarewitz.

Daniel Sarewitz




Advocacy groups and the economic value of medical research p28

Mary Woolley


Develop instruments to monitor volcanic ash fallout p28

Freysteinn Sigmundsson & Ármann Höskuldsson


Sino-European research ethics on the right path p28

Christoph Rehmann-Sutter


Gender agenda: sex bias can be justified in animal research p28

Brad Bolon




Most people are not WEIRD p29

To understand human psychology, behavioural scientists must stop doing most of their experiments on Westerners, argue Joseph Henrich, Steven J. Heine and Ara Norenzayan.

Joseph Henrich, Steven J. Heine & Ara Norenzayan


Climate class for business schools p30

Lessons on the risks and opportunities of climate change should be directed at future executives, given that many companies rival nations in greenhouse-gas emissions, says Genevieve Patenaude.

Genevieve Patenaude



Books and Arts

Embracing an uncertain future p31

A history of climate modelling shows that forecasts that acknowledge uncertainty will be the way forward, argues Myles Allen.

Myles Allen reviews A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming by Paul N. Edwards


Books in brief p32

Joanne Baker


A life both kind and strange p32

W. F. Bynum reviews The Price of Altruism: George Price and the Search for the Origins of Kindness by Oren Harman


Moving in elevated circles p33

Antonio Santucci's great armillary sphere reveals how patrons sought immortality through science, explains Martin Kemp.

Martin Kemp


Masterly deceptions brought to light p34

Even the most prestigious art gallery has a few sham pictures in its collection, and scientific techniques are increasingly able to uncover them, as Daniel Cressey finds out.

Daniel Cressey reviews Close Examination: Fakes, Mistakes and Discoveries



News and Views

Atomic physics: X-ray laser peels and cores atoms p35

The world's first kiloelectronvolt X-ray laser produces such a high flux of photons that atoms can be 'cored'. In other words, the light source can knock out both the electrons of an atom's innermost shell.

Justin Wark


See also: Editor's summary | Article by Young et al.

Applied ecology: How to get even with pests p36

Organic farming supports higher biodiversity. Research involving the Colorado potato beetle shows that this increased diversity can deliver a better ecosystem service in the form of more effective pest control.

Lindsay A. Turnbull & Andy Hector


See also: Editor's summary | Letter by Crowder et al.

Astrophysics: The supernova has two faces p37

The variety of stellar deaths is less than we thought. A compilation of new and archival data shows that two previously distinct subtypes of supernova are actually two sides of the same lopsided coin.

Daniel Kasen


See also: Editor's summary | Letter by Maeda et al.

Autophagy: Snapshot of the network p38

Autophagy is an essential cellular process for protein and organelle quality control. Analyses of proteins that interact with the human autophagic machinery provide an outline of the molecular organization of this pathway.

Beth Levine & Rama Ranganathan


See also: Editor's summary | Article by Behrends et al.

50 & 100 years ago p39


Cancer stem cells: Invitation to a second round p40

Tumour cells are non-uniform. The question is whether a distinct subpopulation of the cells drives tumour growth and generates cellular variation. To answer this, the data must be interpreted carefully.

Peter Dirks


See also: Editor's summary | Letter by Boiko et al.

Early life: Origins of multicellularity p41

Interpreting truly ancient fossils is an especially tricky business. The conclusion that 2.1-billion-year-old structures from Gabon are the remains of large colonial organisms will get palaeobiologists talking.

Philip C. J. Donoghue & Jonathan B. Antcliffe


See also: Editor's summary | Letter by Albani et al.

Drug discovery: Pulled from a protein's embrace p42

It is hard to predict how strongly a small molecule will bind to a protein, but this is a crucial goal of computer-aided drug discovery. A new approach models the forcible removal of molecules from a protein's active site.

William L. Jorgensen


Statistical physics: Closing in on evaders p43

A simple model highlights the pros and cons of chasing — and escaping — in groups. It shows that, for a given number of prey animals, an optimal number of predators exists that maximizes the success of the catch.

Tamás Vicsek


Obituary: Richard Langton Gregory (1923–2010) p45

Cognitive scientist who excelled at communicating science.

Colin Blakemore




The polar ocean and glacial cycles in atmospheric CO2 concentration p47

Global climate and the atmospheric partial pressure of carbon dioxide are correlated over recent glacial cycles, with lower partial pressure of carbon dioxide during ice ages, but the causes of the changes in the partial pressure of carbon dioxide are unknown. Here the authors review the evidence in support of the hypothesis that the Southern Ocean is an important driver of glacial/interglacial changes in the partial pressure of carbon dioxide.

Daniel M. Sigman, Mathis P. Hain & Gerald H. Haug


See also: Editor's summary



Femtosecond electronic response of atoms to ultra-intense X-rays p56

With the start-up of the first X-ray free-electron laser, a new era has begun in dynamical studies of atoms. Here the facility is used to study the fundamental nature of the electronic response in free neon atoms. During a single X-ray pulse, they sequentially eject all their ten electrons to produce fully stripped neon. The authors explain this electron-stripping in a straightforward model, auguring favourably for further studies of interactions of X-rays with more complex systems.

L. Young, E. P. Kanter, B. Krässig, Y. Li, A. M. March, S. T. Pratt, R. Santra, S. H. Southworth, N. Rohringer, L. F. DiMauro, G. Doumy, C. A. Roedig, N. Berrah, L. Fang, M. Hoener, P. H. Bucksbaum, J. P. Cryan, S. Ghimire, J. M. Glownia, D. A. Reis, J. D. Bozek, C. Bostedt & M. Messerschmidt


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

Chromatin regulation by Brg1 underlies heart muscle development and disease p62

Cardiac hypertrophy is associated with a decrease in expression of the adult isoform of the molecular motor myosin heavy chain (α-MHC) and the induction of expression of its fetal isoform (β-MHC). Here the authors reveal the mechanism regulating this switch in expression, which impairs heart function. Cardiac stress in adult hearts reactivates the developmental chromatin-modifying complex Brg1/BAF, which interacts with histone deacetylase and poly (ADP ribose) polymerase to induce a pathological α-MHC-to-β-MHC shift.

Calvin T. Hang, Jin Yang, Pei Han, Hsiu-Ling Cheng, Ching Shang, Euan Ashley, Bin Zhou & Ching-Pin Chang


See also: Editor's summary

Network organization of the human autophagy system p68

Autophagy is a cellular process by which proteins and organelles are sequestered in autophagosomal vesicles and delivered to the lysosome for degradation. Here the authors present a proteomic analysis of the autophagy interaction network in human cells. Their results reveal a network of signalling modules and extensive connectivity among subnetworks. This global view of the mammalian autophagy pathway will be an important resource for future mechanistic understanding of this pathway.

Christian Behrends, Mathew E. Sowa, Steven P. Gygi & J. Wade Harper


See also: Editor's summary | News and Views by Levine & Ranganathan

Spatial organization of the flow of genetic information in bacteria p77

In bacteria, the lack of compartmentalization within membrane-enclosed compartments has made it difficult to determine how mature messenger RNAs are spatially distributed. Here the authors use fluorescence experiments in bacteria to follow mRNA dispersal after transcription. They find, surprisingly, that the newly transcribed mRNAs show limited diffusion, and speculate that the packed chromosomal material may itself act as a partition to separate translation from mRNA degradation.

Paula Montero Llopis, Audrey F. Jackson, Oleksii Sliusarenko, Ivan Surovtsev, Jennifer Heinritz, Thierry Emonet & Christine Jacobs-Wagner


See also: Editor's summary



An asymmetric explosion as the origin of spectral evolution diversity in type Ia supernovae p82

Type Ia supernovae form a class of cosmological 'standard candles', a property that led to the discovery of an accelerating Universe, but recent investigations have revealed that they are more complicated in nature. Here the authors report that their observed spectral diversity is a consequence of the random directions from which their theoretically asymmetrical explosions are viewed, and that this diversity is therefore no longer a concern in using them as standard candles.

K. Maeda, S. Benetti, M. Stritzinger, F. K. Röpke, G. Folatelli, J. Sollerman, S. Taubenberger, K. Nomoto, G. Leloudas, M. Hamuy, M. Tanaka, P. A. Mazzali & N. Elias-Rosa


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

A macroscopic mechanical resonator driven by mesoscopic electrical back-action p86

When electrons or photons are used to detect the motion of a mechanical resonator, they exert tiny forces on the resonator, subtly changing its motion. Here, through analysis of electrical noise measurements, the authors report a striking example of such back-action where electrons tunnelling through a semiconductor quantum device cause vibrations of the host crystal, which is massive compared with the electrons — an effect comparable to a flea causing metre-scale vibrations in Mount Everest.

Joel Stettenheim, Madhu Thalakulam, Feng Pan, Mustafa Bal, Zhonqing Ji, Weiwei Xue, Loren Pfeiffer, K. W. West, M. P. Blencowe & A. J. Rimberg


See also: Editor's summary

Tailoring light–matter–spin interactions in colloidal hetero-nanostructures p91

Light–matter interactions in semiconductors hold great promise for numerous applications, but as device size is reduced such interactions typically weaken, potentially posing problems for applications at the nanoscale. Here the authors circumvent these limitations by producing colloidal particles with metallic cores and semiconducting shells, in which coupling of the plasmons in the metal to the excitons in the semiconductor is engineered to enhance light–matter interactions in the particle.

Jiatao Zhang, Yun Tang, Kwan Lee & Min Ouyang


See also: Editor's summary

Ecosystem response to elevated CO2 levels limited by nitrogen-induced plant species shift p96

It remains uncertain whether added nitrogen enhances total plant productivity in response to CO2-fertilisation in natural ecosystems. Here the authors show that nitrogen addition initially enhances the CO2-stimulation of plant productivity but also promotes the encroachment of plant species that respond less strongly to elevated CO2 concentrations. Overall, the observed shift in the plant community ultimately suppresses the CO2-stimulation of plant productivity.

J. Adam Langley & J. Patrick Megonigal


See also: Editor's summary

Large colonial organisms with coordinated growth in oxygenated environments 2.1Gyr ago p100

Evidence for multicellular life before 1.6–1.0 billion years ago is scarce and controversial. Here the authors report organized, macroscopic structures from Gabon that date to 2.1 billion years ago, have a consistent structure and seem to show evidence of multicellular colonial organization. Coming not long after the rise in atmospheric oxygen concentration, these fossils might be considered harbingers of the multicellular life that drastically expanded about a billion years later.

Abderrazak El Albani, Stefan Bengtson, Donald E. Canfield, Andrey Bekker, Roberto Macchiarelli, Arnaud Mazurier, Emma U. Hammarlund, Philippe Boulvais, Jean-Jacques Dupuy, Claude Fontaine, Franz T. Fürsich, François Gauthier-Lafaye, Philippe Janvier, Emmanuelle Javaux, Frantz Ossa Ossa, Anne-Catherine Pierson-Wickmann, Armelle Riboulleau, Paul Sardini, Daniel Vachard, Martin Whitehouse & Alain Meunier


See also: Editor's summary | News and Views by Donoghue & Antcliffe

The giant bite of a new raptorial sperm whale from the Miocene epoch of Peru p105

Modern sperm whales have relatively small teeth and feed by suction, but the discovery of large teeth in the fossil record suggests that raptorial sperm whales once existed. Here the authors report the discovery of the teeth and jaws of a fossil raptorial sperm whale from the Middle Miocene of Peru, almost as large as a modern sperm whale but with a three-metre head and jaws full of teeth, some 36cm long.

Olivier Lambert, Giovanni Bianucci, Klaas Post, Christian de Muizon, Rodolfo Salas-Gismondi, Mario Urbina & Jelle Reumer


See also: Editor's summary

Organic agriculture promotes evenness and natural pest control p109

A survey of organic and conventional potato fields shows that species evenness is greater under organic management. Replicating these levels of evenness in a field trial shows that the evenness of natural enemies found in organic fields promotes pest control and increases crop biomass. This is independent of the identity of the dominant enemy species, so is a result of evenness itself.

David W. Crowder, Tobin D. Northfield, Michael R. Strand & William E. Snyder


See also: Editor's summary | News and Views by Turnbull & Hector

Genome-wide association study in alopecia areata implicates both innate and adaptive immunity p113

The genetic basis of alopecia areata, one of the most common human autoimmune diseases, is largely unknown. This study reports a genome-wide association for this trait that implies the involvement of acquired and innate immunity. Among significant associations are the cytomegalovirus UL16-binding protein genes, which encode activating ligands for the natural killer cell receptor, NKG2D, here implicated for the first time in any autoimmune disease.

Lynn Petukhova, Madeleine Duvic, Maria Hordinsky, David Norris, Vera Price, Yutaka Shimomura, Hyunmi Kim, Pallavi Singh, Annette Lee, Wei V. Chen, Katja C. Meyer, Ralf Paus, Colin A. B. Jahoda, Christopher I. Amos, Peter K. Gregersen & Angela M. Christiano


See also: Editor's summary

The male mouse pheromone ESP1 enhances female sexual receptive behaviour through a specific vomeronasal receptor p118

Although pheromones and their detection by the vomeronasal organ are known to govern social behaviour in mice, specific chemical signals have rarely been linked to selective behavioural responses. Here the authors show that the ESP1 peptide secreted in male tears makes females sexually receptive, and identify its specific vomeronasal receptor and the sex-specific neuronal circuits activated during the behavioural response.

Sachiko Haga, Tatsuya Hattori, Toru Sato, Koji Sato, Soichiro Matsuda, Reiko Kobayakawa, Hitoshi Sakano, Yoshihiro Yoshihara, Takefumi Kikusui & Kazushige Touhara


See also: Editor's summary

Sensitivity to perturbations in vivo implies high noise and suggests rate coding in cortex p123

Neural responses are variable, but it is unclear whether this variability carries important information or is just noise. Here the authors characterize the sensitivity to small fluctuations of in vivo cortical networks in rat barrel cortex in the context of neural coding, finding that perturbations are amplified and cause an increase in local firing rate. Simulations suggest that this amplification leads to variations in the system that are pure noise and, therefore, unsuited for carrying a reliable temporal code.

Michael London, Arnd Roth, Lisa Beeren, Michael Häusser & Peter E. Latham


See also: Editor's summary

Spatiotemporal regulation of cell-cycle genes by SHORTROOT links patterning and growth p128

In higher animals and plants, the processes of growth and patterning are coordinated. In this study, the authors study patterning in Arabidopsis root and show that two key regulators of root organ patterning directly control the transcription of specific components of the cell-cycle machinery. This study provides a direct link between developmental regulators, components of the cell-cycle machinery and organ patterning.

R. Sozzani, H. Cui, M. A. Moreno-Risueno, W. Busch, J. M. Van Norman, T. Vernoux, S. M. Brady, W. Dewitte, J. A. H. Murray & P. N. Benfey


See also: Editor's summary

Human melanoma-initiating cells express neural crest nerve growth factor receptor CD271 p133

In this work, the neural crest stem cell marker CD271 is implicated as a cancer stem cell marker, allowing identification and prospective isolation of melanoma cancer stem cells.

Alexander D. Boiko, Olga V. Razorenova, Matt van de Rijn, Susan M. Swetter, Denise L. Johnson, Daphne P. Ly, Paris D. Butler, George P. Yang, Benzion Joshua, Michael J. Kaplan, Michael T. Longaker & Irving L. Weissman


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

SCFCyclin F controls centrosome homeostasis and mitotic fidelity through CP110 degradation p138

Cyclin F is the founding member of the F-box protein family but its functions are unknown; unlike most cyclins, it does not bind or activate cyclin-dependent kinases. Here the authors identify CP110, a protein essential for centrosome duplication, as a substrate of Cyclin F. CP110 and Cyclin F associate on centrioles during the cell cycle, and Cyclin F is proposed to limit centrosome duplication by targeting CP110 for degradation.

Vincenzo D’Angiolella, Valerio Donato, Sangeetha Vijayakumar, Anita Saraf, Laurence Florens, Michael P. Washburn, Brian Dynlacht & Michele Pagano


See also: Editor's summary



Careers Q&A

Leslie Vosshall p145

Leslie Vosshall, head of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Behavior at Rockefeller University, New York, this year earned tenure and a promotion to the position of Robin Chemers Neustein Professor. She tells Nature that the new post makes her eager to work harder and guard against resting on her laurels.

Virginia Gewin


In Brief

Universities protest cuts p145

Emergency UK budget prompts action by students and staff.


NIH peer review laid bare p145

Official video sheds light on assessment processs.


Call for more EU funding p145

University consortium recommends boosting basic-science spend.



Mile-high dreams p146

The Denver area is trying to overcome the isolation factor and meagre funding to excel as a bioscience hub. Laura Cassiday reports.

Laura Cassiday




The end of God p150

It's just common sense ...

Shelly Li


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