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Collateral damage p1023

An investigation at Harvard University highlights the human cost of scientific misconduct.


Australia's mixed climate p1023

A coalition government could be what the country needs to make headway on an emissions policy.



Research Highlights

Evolutionary biology: Lice in hiding p1024


Applied physics: Record data storage p1024


Neuroscience: Quick mood lift p1024


Astronomy: Exploding computer models p1024


Animal behaviour: Genetics and culture clash p1024


Astronomy: Brown dwarf spotted p1024


Developmental biology: Live-action embryos p1025


Cancer biology: Muscling in on cancer p1025


Neurodegeneration: Cell respiration ruin p1025


Astronomy: Oldest rock p1025



Journal Club

Journal club p1025

Richard E. Zeebe




News briefing: 20–26 August 2010 p1026

The week in science.


Big science feels the pinch in Europe p1028

Financial hard times in member states are fuelling calls for budget savings across the board.

Geoff Brumfiel


Sugar synthesis speeds up p1029

Automated synthesizers can make complex carbohydrates on demand.

Richard Van Noorden


G-whizzes disagree over gravity p1030

Recent measurements of gravitational constant increase uncertainty over accepted value.

Eugenie Samuel Reich


Key Alzheimer's findings questioned p1031

Conflicting results cloud link to prion protein.

Heidi Ledford


Battle to degas deadly lakes continues p1033

Funding shortage is biggest hurdle for those striving to disarm three rare but lethal geological hazards.

Nicola Jones


Nuclear theory nudged p1034

Results from mothballed facility challenge established theory.

Eugenie Samuel Reich



News Feature

Genetics: Pet project p1036

Stymied in the search for genes underlying human neuropsychiatric diseases, some researchers are looking to dogs instead. David Cyranoski meets the geneticist's new best friend.




Consumers have a right to affordable genetic testing p1040

Christopher Kanan


Misconduct: don't assume science is self-correcting p1040

Thomas P. Hettinger


Misconduct: don't penalize the honest majority of scientists p1040

John P. Moore


Proposals for surface-temperature databank now open for scrutiny p1040

Peter Stott & Peter Thorne


Clarifying knowledge ownership in Europe's medicines initiative p1040

Kim De Rijck & Michel Goldman


Mosquitoes: schemes to render them extinct are impracticable p1041

Stephen M. Smith


Mosquitoes: first evaluate impacts of eradicating them p1041

Jon D. Hoekstra


Mosquitoes: retain an ex situ population for ecological insurance p1041

Ben Phalan


Mosquitoes: just how much biodiversity does humanity need? p1041

Fern Wickson




Disasters widen the rich–poor gap p1042

New Orleans's recovery five years on from Katrina is a harbinger of how climate change will drive a thicker wedge between the haves and the have-nots, says John Mutter.

John Mutter


Save your census p1043

National censuses and surveys are threatened around the world by high costs and low response rates. The demographic data they yield are too valuable to lose, warn Stephen E. Fienberg and Kenneth Prewitt.

Stephen E. Fienberg & Kenneth Prewitt



Books and Arts

Last days of the lone astronomer p1044

A celebratory account of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey highlights astronomy's culture shift to big science — but at what risk to individual ingenuity, asks Joss Bland-Hawthorn?

Joss Bland-Hawthorn reviews A Grand and Bold Thing: An Extraordinary New Map of the Universe Ushering in a New Era of Discovery by Ann Finkbeiner


Preserving social difference p1045

Andrew Robinson reviews What Makes Civilization? The Ancient Near East and the Future of the West by David Wengrow


Japanese view of the natural world p1046

David Cyranoski reviews Sensing Nature: Rethinking the Japanese Perception of Nature


Outlook: Parkinson's Disease

Produced with support from:

Outlook: Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's disease pS1

Michelle Grayson


Secrets of the shaking palsy pS2

Parkinson's disease might have much in common with Alzheimer's disease, prion diseases and other protein-aggregation disorders. Jim Schnabel investigates.

Jim Schnabel


Levodopa: the story so far pS6

Alison Abbott explores the history of the first treatment for Parkinson's disease since its dramatic debut in the swinging sixties.

Alison Abbott


Parkinson's disease: a model dilemma pS8

The lack of a good animal model is frustrating efforts to curb disease progression, explains M. Flint Beal.

M. Flint Beal


Biomarkers: casting the net wide pS11

To have any hope of affecting the course of Parkinson's disease, early diagnosis is essential. Rachel Jones assesses progress so far.

Rachel Jones


Slowing the decline pS13

The search is on for disease-modifying treatments for Parkinson's disease, but, as Ruth Williams discovers, developing a compound is only part of the problem.

Ruth Williams


Treatment frontiers pS15

Cell replacement, gene therapy, and electrical and optical stimulation for the brain — Kerri Smith looks to the future of Parkinson's disease therapies.

Kerri Smith



News and Views

Condensed-matter physics: The dance of electrons and holes p1047

How many pairs of electrons and 'missing electrons' can sustain collective motion in a semiconductor? The limits of this electron–hole dance are found by probing the dance floor using ultrashort laser pulses.

Gregory D. Scholes


See also: Editor's summary | Letter by Turner & Nelson

Structural biology: Conservation in vesicle coats p1048

Coat proteins of vesicles involved in intracellular membrane trafficking have closely related molecular architectures. The structure of COPI extends known similarities, and strengthens the case for a common evolutionary origin.

Stephen C. Harrison & Tomas Kirchhausen


Astrophysics: Making black holes from scratch p1049

The means by which supermassive black holes form and grow have remained largely unclear. Numerical simulations show that the collision of massive galaxies can naturally lead to the creation of these objects.

Marta Volonteri


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

50 & 100 years ago p1050


Cell cycle: Retinoblastoma, a trip organizer p1051

The retinoblastoma protein is essential for accurate DNA replication, and its loss is commonly associated with cancer. It emerges that this protein also regulates another stage of the cell cycle.

Giovanni Bosco


Neurodegeneration: An expansion in ALS genetics p1052

Aggregates and mutations of the proteins ataxin-2 and TDP-43 have been implicated in distinct neurodegenerative disorders. An interplay between these proteins is now reported for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Clotilde Lagier-Tourenne & Don W. Cleveland


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

Quantum mechanics: The usefulness of uselessness p1053

A game for three or more players called 'guess your neighbour's input' reveals common ground between classical and quantum physics — at the expense of more exotic, super-quantum, theories of nature.

Andreas Winter


Cancer: Viruses' backup plan p1054

Tumour viruses can cause cancer by altering gene expression and protein activity in the host cell. Tumour adenoviruses, however, seem to go to great lengths to ensure that one particular host cell protein, p53, is suppressed.

Kevin M. Ryan


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


Brief Communications Arising

Evidence for male allocation in pipefish? pE11

Darryl T. Gwynne, Kevin A. Judge & Clint D. Kelly


Paczolt & Jones reply pE12

Kimberly A. Paczolt & Adam G. Jones




The evolution of eusociality p1057

Martin A. Nowak, Corina E. Tarnita & Edward O. Wilson


See also: Editor's summary



Lithospheric layering in the North American craton p1063

These authors show that changes in seismic anisotropy with depth across the stable part of North America reveal the presence of two lithospheric layers. The top layer, which is chemically depleted, is ~150 km thick under the ancient core of the continent and tapers out along its younger borders. The bottom of the lithosphere is relatively flat, in agreement with the presence of a thermal conductive root that subsequently formed around the depleted chemical layer.

Huaiyu Yuan & Barbara Romanowicz


See also: Editor's summary

Ataxin-2 intermediate-length polyglutamine expansions are associated with increased risk for ALS p1069

The causes of the neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are poorly understood, although the protein TDP-43 seems to be involved. These authors show that the polyglutamine-containing protein ataxin 2 interacts with TDP-43 and is a potent modifier of TDP-43 toxicity. Moreover, intermediate-length polyglutamine expansions in the ataxin 2 gene significantly associate with ALS. These data establish the ataxin 2 gene as a new and relatively common ALS disease susceptibility gene.

Andrew C. Elden, Hyung-Jun Kim, Michael P. Hart, Alice S. Chen-Plotkin, Brian S. Johnson, Xiaodong Fang, Maria Armakola, Felix Geser, Robert Greene, Min Min Lu, Arun Padmanabhan, Dana Clay-Falcone, Leo McCluskey, Lauren Elman, Denise Juhr, Peter J. Gruber, Udo Rüb, Georg Auburger, John Q. Trojanowski, Virginia M.-Y. Lee, Vivianna M. Van Deerlin, Nancy M. Bonini & Aaron D. Gitler


See also: Editor's summary | News and Views by Lagier-Tourenne & Cleveland

Heterochromatin silencing of p53 target genes by a small viral protein p1076

Adenovirus E1B-55k targets transcription factor p53 for degradation and is thought to be critical for p53 inactivation during adenovirus replication. Indeed, mutant viruses lacking E1B-55k have been tested as viral cancer therapies selective for p53-positive tumours. These authors find another adenoviral protein, E4-ORF3, to inactivate p53 independently of E1B-55k by means of a chromatin-silencing mechanism that prevents access of p53 to its DNA target sites.

Conrado Soria, Fanny E. Estermann, Kristen C. Espantman & Clodagh C. O’Shea


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



Direct formation of supermassive black holes via multi-scale gas inflows in galaxy mergers p1082

Observations of distant quasars indicate that billion-solar-mass supermassive black holes existed less than a billion years after the Big Bang, but models have struggled to explain this. These authors report simulations showing that mergers between massive protogalaxies produce the conditions for collapse into supermassive black holes. Merger-driven gas inflows give rise to a nuclear gas disk that funnels gas to a sub-parsec-scale cloud. Gravitational collapse of this cloud leads to the formation of a massive black hole.

L. Mayer, S. Kazantzidis, A. Escala & S. Callegari


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

Formation of asteroid pairs by rotational fission p1085

Rotational fission may explain the formation of pairs of asteroids that have similar heliocentric orbits but are not bound together. These authors report photometric observations of a sample of asteroid pairs revealing that the primaries of pairs with mass ratios much less than 0.2 rotate rapidly, near their critical fission frequency. In agreement with crucial predictions, they do not find asteroid pairs with mass ratios larger than 0.2, and as the mass ratio approaches 0.2 the primary period grows long.

P. Pravec, D. Vokrouhlický, D. Polishook, D. J. Scheeres, A. W. Harris, A. Galád, O. Vaduvescu, F. Pozo, A. Barr, P. Longa, F. Vachier, F. Colas, D. P. Pray, J. Pollock, D. Reichart, K. Ivarsen, J. Haislip, A. LaCluyze, P. Kušnirák, T. Henych, F. Marchis, B. Macomber, S. A. Jacobson, Yu. N. Krugly, A. V. Sergeev & A. Leroy


See also: Editor's summary

Coherent measurements of high-order electronic correlations in quantum wells p1089

The exciton state in semiconductors, where an electron and hole are paired, has been studied extensively, but the properties of exciton states involving three or more charged particles are largely unknown. These authors use a challenging spectroscopy technique to generate and characterize biexcitons, triexcitons and other, unbound, correlations in a gallium arsenide nanostructure. It was previously unknown whether triexcitons, which involve correlations between six particles, can exist at all.

Daniel B. Turner & Keith A. Nelson


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

Upper-ocean-to-atmosphere radiocarbon offsets imply fast deglacial carbon dioxide release p1093

At the end of the last ice age, rising atmospheric CO2 levels coincided with a decline in radiocarbon activity, suggesting the release of highly radiocarbon-depleted CO2 from the deep ocean to the atmosphere. These authors present radiocarbon records of surface and intermediate-depth waters from two sediment cores and find an decrease in radiocarbon activity that precedes and roughly equals in magnitude the decrease in the atmospheric radiocarbon signal during the early stages of the glacial–interglacial climatic transition.

Kathryn A. Rose, Elisabeth L. Sikes, Thomas P. Guilderson, Phil Shane, Tessa M. Hill, Rainer Zahn & Howard J. Spero


See also: Editor's summary

Global patterns and predictors of marine biodiversity across taxa p1098

Using large-scale data sets, these authors present a new assessment of global marine species diversity and its correlation with environmental and spatial parameters.

Derek P. Tittensor, Camilo Mora, Walter Jetz, Heike K. Lotze, Daniel Ricard, Edward Vanden Berghe & Boris Worm


See also: Editor's summary

Statistical inference for noisy nonlinear ecological dynamic systems p1102

Many ecological systems have chaotic or near-chaotic dynamics. In such cases, it has proved difficult to test whether data fit particular models that might explain the dynamics, because the noise in the data make statistical comparison with the model impossible. This author has devised a statistical method for making such inferences, based on extracting phase-insensitive summary statistics from the raw data and comparing with data simulated using the model.

Simon N. Wood


See also: Editor's summary

A novel pathway regulates memory and plasticity via SIRT1 and miR-134 p1105

The deacetylase SIRT1 has been suggested to function in normal brain physiology, but it is not known whether it participates in higher-order brain functions. These authors demonstrate a role for SIRT1 in synaptic plasticity and memory formation, with activation enhancing synaptic strength and memory formation. These effects were regulated through a post-transcriptional mechanism involving CREB activation and miR-134 production. This interplay represents another mechanism of plasticity regulation with behavioural consequences.

Jun Gao, Wen-Yuan Wang, Ying-Wei Mao, Johannes Gräff, Ji-Song Guan, Ling Pan, Gloria Mak, Dohoon Kim, Susan C. Su & Li-Huei Tsai


See also: Editor's summary

Rb regulates fate choice and lineage commitment in vivo p1110

The retinoblastoma tumour suppressor protein pRb can suppress the activity of certain transcription factors and potentiate the activity of others, and has been shown to affect the differentiation of different cell lineages in vitro. These authors show that the Rb gene has a role in driving bone cell formation or brown adipose tissue formation in vivo.

Eliezer Calo, Jose A. Quintero-Estades, Paul S. Danielian, Simona Nedelcu, Seth D. Berman & Jacqueline A. Lees


See also: Editor's summary

IκBβ acts to inhibit and activate gene expression during the inflammatory response p1115

Nuclear hypophosphorylated IκBβ is shown to bind p65:c-Rel dimers and maintain prolonged expression of TNF-α in response to stimulation by lipopolysaccharide.

Ping Rao, Mathew S. Hayden, Meixiao Long, Martin L. Scott, A. Philip West, Dekai Zhang, Andrea Oeckinghaus, Candace Lynch, Alexander Hoffmann, David Baltimore & Sankar Ghosh


See also: Editor's summary

A ribosome-associating factor chaperones tail-anchored membrane proteins p1120

Tail-anchored proteins have a single transmembrane domain at their carboxy termini and are post-translationally targeted to the endoplasmic reticulum via the cytosolic ATPase TRC40. These authors identify a conserved protein complex called Bat3 complex that is recruited to ribosomes, interacts with the transmembrane domain of newly released tail-anchored proteins and transfers them to TRC40 for subsequent targeting to the endoplasmic reticulum.

Malaiyalam Mariappan, Xingzhe Li, Sandra Stefanovic, Ajay Sharma, Agnieszka Mateja, Robert J. Keenan & Ramanujan S. Hegde


See also: Editor's summary

NRMT is an α-N-methyltransferase that methylates RCC1 and retinoblastoma protein p1125

α-N-methylation is an unusual post-translational modification in which the amino-terminal residues of proteins are methylated. One example is the Ran guanine nucleotide-exchange factor, RCC1, which requires methylation for its association with chromatin. These authors describe the first α-N-methyltransferase, named N-terminal RCC1 methyltransferase (NRMT). They identify the NRMT recognition sequence and several new methylation targets, and demonstrate the importance of α-N-methylation for normal bipolar spindle formation and chromosome segregation.

Christine E. Schaner Tooley, Janusz J. Petkowski, Tara L. Muratore-Schroeder, Jeremy L. Balsbaugh, Jeffrey Shabanowitz, Michal Sabat, Wladek Minor, Donald F. Hunt & Ian G. Macara


See also: Editor's summary

Role of Tet proteins in 5mC to 5hmC conversion, ES-cell self-renewal and inner cell mass specification p1129

TET1 is an enzyme that catalyses the conversion of 5-methylcytosine of DNA to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine, raising the possibility that it is involved in mediating DNA demethylation. These authors show that Tet1 is involved in mouse embryonic stem cell maintenance and specification of the inner cell mass. It is required to maintain both the expression of Nanog in embryonic stem cells and the Nanog promoter in a hypomethylated state, supporting a role for Tet1 in regulating DNA methylation.

Shinsuke Ito, Ana C. D’Alessio, Olena V. Taranova, Kwonho Hong, Lawrence C. Sowers & Yi Zhang


See also: Editor's summary



The giant bite of a new raptorial sperm whale from the Miocene epoch of Peru p1134

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


Fighting the monster p1134

Amy Maxmen


Temperature-controlled organic carbon mineralization in lake sediments p1134

Cristian Gudasz, David Bastviken, Kristin Steger, Katrin Premke, Sebastian Sobek & Lars J. Tranvik


Detection of functional haematopoietic stem cell niche using real-time imaging p1134

Yucai Xie, Tong Yin, Winfried Wiegraebe, Xi C. He, Diana Miller, Danny Stark, Katherine Perko, Richard Alexander, Joel Schwartz, Justin Grindley, Jungeun Park, Jeff Haug, Joshua Wunderlich, Hua Li, Simon Zhang, Teri Johnson, Ricardo A. Feldman & Linheng Li



Technology Features

Cellular imaging: Taking a long, hard look p1137

Long-term, live-cell imaging helps to settle long-running debates. Monya Baker investigates how the huge investment and time commitment is finally paying off.

Monya Baker


Cellular imaging: A long-term live-cell commitment p1138


Cellular imaging: A software spot p1139



Correction p1140



Cellular imaging: Table of suppliers p1141




Careers and Recruitment

A dual dilemma p1144

Despite increased efforts by universities, more and more scientists have to deal with the two-body problem, reports Karen Kaplan.

Karen Kaplan


Negotiating for two p1145

There is no universally accepted method for when and how to broach the two-body problem with recruiters. Karen Kaplan details the options.

Karen Kaplan




Me am Petri p1148

Information overload.

Martin Hayes


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