Table of Contents

Volume 505 Number 7485 pp585-716

30 January 2014

About the cover

A century after Max von Laue received a Nobel prize for discovering the diffraction of X-rays by crystals, X-ray crystallography has made its mark in almost every field of science. In this special issue, Nature celebrates the International Year of Crystallography by examining the impact of von Laue’s method and its descendants. Cover illustration: Viktor Koen (inset of X-ray diffraction pattern of crystallised 3Clpro by Jeff Dahl; Bragg image by the Nobel Foundation).

This Week


  • Support our buoys

    An international effort is needed to restore an early-warning system for the vast warming of the Pacific Ocean that leads to extreme weather worldwide.

  • Open invitation

    Europe’s proposed climate targets fire the starting gun on the long build-up to Paris 2015.

  • Crystal clear

    Celebrating the many achievements of crystallography.

World View


Seven Days


News in Focus




Books and Arts

  • Physics: Einstein's curve ball

    Graham Farmelo enjoys a 'biography' of the general theory of relativity.

    • Review of The Perfect Theory: A Century of Geniuses and the Battle over General Relativity
      Pedro G. Ferreira
  • Neuroscience: Joined-up thinking

    Chris Frith explores a masterful model of how consciousness plays out in the theatre of the brain.

    • Review of Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering How the Brain Codes Our Thoughts
      Stanislas Dehaene
  • Medicine: Bad medicine

    Alison Abbott reviews an exhibition that reveals a lag in applying academic knowledge to medical practice.

    • Review of Praxiswelten
  • Materials: Vitreous visions

    Daniel Cressey celebrates the pending refit of the Glass Lab — an innovative crossroads of science and art at MIT.






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  • The evolution of lncRNA repertoires and expression patterns in tetrapods

    • Anamaria Necsulea
    • Magali Soumillon
    • Maria Warnefors
    • Angélica Liechti
    • Tasman Daish
    • Ulrich Zeller
    • Julie C. Baker
    • Frank Grützner
    • Henrik Kaessmann

    Evolutionary study of long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) repertoires and expression patterns in 11 tetrapod species identifies approximately 11,000 primate-specific lncRNAs and 2,500 highly conserved lncRNAs, including approximately 400 genes that are likely to have ancient origins; many lncRNAs, particularly ancient ones, are actively regulated and may function mainly in embryonic development.

  • Stimulus-triggered fate conversion of somatic cells into pluripotency

    • Haruko Obokata
    • Teruhiko Wakayama
    • Yoshiki Sasai
    • Koji Kojima
    • Martin P. Vacanti
    • Hitoshi Niwa
    • Masayuki Yamato
    • Charles A. Vacanti

    One of two papers describing a reprogramming phenomenon called stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency (STAP) — in STAP, lineage-committed adult somatic cells are reprogrammed to pluripotency by transient exposure to low-pH treatment, and extensive analysis of the molecular features and developmental potential of STAP cells indicates that they represent a unique state of pluripotency.

    See also
  • ANP32E is a histone chaperone that removes H2A.Z from chromatin

    • Arnaud Obri
    • Khalid Ouararhni
    • Christophe Papin
    • Marie-Laure Diebold
    • Kiran Padmanabhan
    • Martin Marek
    • Isabelle Stoll
    • Ludovic Roy
    • Patrick T. Reilly
    • Tak W. Mak
    • Stefan Dimitrov
    • Christophe Romier
    • Ali Hamiche

    Human protein ANP32E is a histone chaperone that promotes removal of H2A.Z from chromatin.


  • A global cloud map of the nearest known brown dwarf

    • I. J. M. Crossfield
    • B. Biller
    • J. E. Schlieder
    • N. R. Deacon
    • M. Bonnefoy
    • D. Homeier
    • F. Allard
    • E. Buenzli
    • Th. Henning
    • W. Brandner
    • B. Goldman
    • T. Kopytova

    A map of the surface of a brown dwarf reveals features that suggest patchy clouds, providing the mechanism for the dispersal of atmospheric dust as brown dwarfs cool with age.

    See also
  • Resonant Auger decay driving intermolecular Coulombic decay in molecular dimers

    • F. Trinter
    • M. S. Schöffler
    • H.-K. Kim
    • F. P. Sturm
    • K. Cole
    • N. Neumann
    • A. Vredenborg
    • J. Williams
    • I. Bocharova
    • R. Guillemin
    • M. Simon
    • A. Belkacem
    • A. L. Landers
    • Th. Weber
    • H. Schmidt-Böcking
    • R. Dörner
    • T. Jahnke

    Intermolecular Coulombic decay transfers excess energy to neighbouring molecules, which then lose a low-energy (and, hence, genotoxic) electron; here the process is experimentally confirmed to be site-selective and highly efficient, possibly enabling more targeted radiation therapy.

  • Australian tropical cyclone activity lower than at any time over the past 550–1,500 years

    • Jordahna Haig
    • Jonathan Nott
    • Gert-Jan Reichart

    A tropical cyclone activity index that allows for a direct comparison between the modern instrumental record and long-term palaeotempest (prehistoric tropical cyclone) records shows that present low levels of storm activity on the mid west and northeast coasts of Australia are unprecedented over the past 550 to 1,500 years.

  • Within-group male relatedness reduces harm to females in Drosophila

    • Pau Carazo
    • Cedric K. W. Tan
    • Felicity Allen
    • Stuart Wigby
    • Tommaso Pizzari

    Relatedness can affect fitness through modulation of intrasexual competition in Drosophila melanogaster; male competition and female harm are lower when three related males compete over an unrelated female than when three unrelated males compete, but when two brothers and an unrelated male compete, the unrelated male sires twice as many offspring as either brother, suggesting that minorities of unrelated competitors may be able to infiltrate coalitions of relatives.

    See also
  • Bidirectional developmental potential in reprogrammed cells with acquired pluripotency

    • Haruko Obokata
    • Yoshiki Sasai
    • Hitoshi Niwa
    • Mitsutaka Kadota
    • Munazah Andrabi
    • Nozomu Takata
    • Mikiko Tokoro
    • Yukari Terashita
    • Shigenobu Yonemura
    • Charles A. Vacanti
    • Teruhiko Wakayama

    One of two papers describing a reprogramming phenomenon called stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency (STAP) — in STAP, lineage-committed adult somatic cells are reprogrammed to pluripotency by transient exposure to low-pH treatment, and extensive analysis of the molecular features and developmental potential of STAP cells indicates that they represent a unique state of pluripotency.

    See also
  • Genome-wide dissection of the quorum sensing signalling pathway in Trypanosoma brucei

    • Binny M. Mony
    • Paula MacGregor
    • Alasdair Ivens
    • Federico Rojas
    • Andrew Cowton
    • Julie Young
    • David Horn
    • Keith Matthews

    Here a genome-wide RNAi library screen is used to identify components of the signalling pathway that allow transformation of Trypanosoma brucei spp., the protozoan parasite responsible for important human and livestock diseases in sub-Saharan Africa, from proliferative slender forms to arrested stumpy forms which are transmitted to the tsetse fly vector.

  • Pan-viral specificity of IFN-induced genes reveals new roles for cGAS in innate immunity

    • John W. Schoggins
    • Donna A. MacDuff
    • Naoko Imanaka
    • Maria D. Gainey
    • Bimmi Shrestha
    • Jennifer L. Eitson
    • Katrina B. Mar
    • R. Blake Richardson
    • Alexander V. Ratushny
    • Vladimir Litvak
    • Rea Dabelic
    • Balaji Manicassamy
    • John D. Aitchison
    • Alan Aderem
    • Richard M. Elliott
    • Adolfo García-Sastre
    • Vincent Racaniello
    • Eric J. Snijder
    • Wayne M. Yokoyama
    • Michael S. Diamond
    • Herbert W. Virgin
    • Charles M. Rice

    The specificity of interferon effectors across an expanded range of viruses is studied, with results indicating that positive-sense single-stranded RNA viruses are more susceptible to interferon-stimulated gene activity than negative-sense RNA or DNA viruses; in addition, the DNA sensor cGAS is shown to have an unappreciated role in RNA virus inhibition.

  • Genome-wide probing of RNA structure reveals active unfolding of mRNA structures in vivo

    • Silvi Rouskin
    • Meghan Zubradt
    • Stefan Washietl
    • Manolis Kellis
    • Jonathan S. Weissman

    Understanding how RNA structure influences its function has been hampered by a lack of approaches that can accurately quantify RNA structure in vivo; here, RNA structure is revealed on a global scale and with nucleotide-level resolution, showing that there is less structure within cells than expected from in vitro and in silico analyses.

    See also
  • Landscape and variation of RNA secondary structure across the human transcriptome

    • Yue Wan
    • Kun Qu
    • Qiangfeng Cliff Zhang
    • Ryan A. Flynn
    • Ohad Manor
    • Zhengqing Ouyang
    • Jiajing Zhang
    • Robert C. Spitale
    • Michael P. Snyder
    • Eran Segal
    • Howard Y. Chang

    An RNA secondary structure (RSS) map of coding and noncoding RNA from a human family (two parents and their child) is produced; this reveals that approximately 15% of all transcribed single nucleotide variants (SNVs) alter local RNA structure, and these SNVs are depleted in certain locations, suggesting that particular RNA structures are important at those sites.

    See also