Table of Contents

Volume 531 Number 7593 pp139-268

10 March 2016

About the cover

The development of the CRISPR–Cas9 gene-editing tool has revolutionized molecular biology. Used to modify the genomes of viruses, bacteria, animals and plants, it has the potential to reveal the secrets of genomic organization, combat disease, improve crops, make designer pets and much more. All this — complicated by the announcement that the technique has been used to modify the genomes of human embryos — presents formidable ethical problems for regulatory bodies to wrestle with. This special issue of Nature surveys the CRISPR–Cas9 scene and poses the question: what do we want a gene-edited world to look like? Cover art by Chris Labrooy.

This Week


  • Food processing

    A recreation of how early humans managed to eat a diet of meat hundreds of thousands of years before they had fire to cook it with, shows an ingenious use of tools to cut down on chewing time.

  • Who ordered that?

    An unexpected data signal that could change everything has particle physicists salivating.

World View


Seven Days


News in Focus




Books and Arts

  • Economics: China in the new world

    Margaret Myers on a study of the impacts of the country's presence in Latin America.

    • Review of The China Triangle: Latin America's China Boom and the Fate of the Washington Consensus
      Kevin P. Gallagher
  • Conservation: Glass half full

    Stuart Pimm examines E. O. Wilson's grand vision for an Earth shared equally between humanity and nature.

    • Review of Half-Earth: Our Planet's Fight for Life
      Edward O. Wilson
  • Psychology: No blank slate

    Sara Reardon is moved by a play about the toll of infant sex-assignment surgery.

    • Review of Boy
      Anna Ziegler



  • Group dynamics: A lab of their own

    The make-up of a lab is crucial to success in publishing its research — and now, scientists are exploring how to compose the best research group possible.

    • Chris Woolston



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Brief Communications



  • Failure of RQC machinery causes protein aggregation and proteotoxic stress

    • Young-Jun Choe
    • Sae-Hun Park
    • Timm Hassemer
    • Roman Körner
    • Lisa Vincenz-Donnelly
    • Manajit Hayer-Hartl
    • F. Ulrich Hartl

    Defects in the ribosome quality control (RQC) complex, which clears proteins that stalled during translation, can cause neurodegeneration; here it is shown that in RQC-defective cells a peptide tail added by the RQC subunit 2 to stalled polypeptides promotes their aggregation and the sequestration of chaperones in these aggregates, affecting normal protein quality control processes.


  • A repeating fast radio burst

    • L. G. Spitler
    • P. Scholz
    • J. W. T. Hessels
    • S. Bogdanov
    • A. Brazier
    • F. Camilo
    • S. Chatterjee
    • J. M. Cordes
    • F. Crawford
    • J. Deneva
    • R. D. Ferdman
    • P. C. C. Freire
    • V. M. Kaspi
    • P. Lazarus
    • R. Lynch
    • E. C. Madsen
    • M. A. McLaughlin
    • C. Patel
    • S. M. Ransom
    • A. Seymour
    • I. H. Stairs
    • B. W. Stappers
    • J. van Leeuwen
    • W. W. Zhu

    Observations of repeated fast radio bursts, having dispersion measures and sky positions consistent with those of FRB 121102, show that the signals do not originate in a single cataclysmic event and may come from a young, highly magnetized, extragalactic neutron star.

  • Exponential protection of zero modes in Majorana islands

    • S. M. Albrecht
    • A. P. Higginbotham
    • M. Madsen
    • F. Kuemmeth
    • T. S. Jespersen
    • J. Nygård
    • P. Krogstrup
    • C. M. Marcus

    The splitting of zero-energy Majorana modes in a tunnel-coupled InAs nanowire with epitaxial aluminium is exponentially suppressed as the wire length is increased, resulting in protection of these modes; this result helps to establish the robust presence of Majorana modes and quantifies exponential protection in nanowire devices.

    See also
  • Change of carrier density at the pseudogap critical point of a cuprate superconductor

    • S. Badoux
    • W. Tabis
    • F. Laliberté
    • G. Grissonnanche
    • B. Vignolle
    • D. Vignolles
    • J. Béard
    • D. A. Bonn
    • W. N. Hardy
    • R. Liang
    • N. Doiron-Leyraud
    • Louis Taillefer
    • Cyril Proust

    Low-temperature measurements of the Hall effect in cuprate materials in which superconductivity is suppressed by high magnetic fields show that the pseudogap is not related to the charge ordering that has been seen at intermediate doping levels, but is instead linked to the antiferromagnetic Mott insulator at low doping.

  • Palladium-catalysed transannular C–H functionalization of alicyclic amines

    • Joseph J. Topczewski
    • Pablo J. Cabrera
    • Noam I. Saper
    • Melanie S. Sanford

    An approach to selectively manipulate the C–H bonds of alicyclic amines at sites remote to nitrogen is demonstrated by the synthesis of new derivatives of several bioactive molecules, including varenicline, a drug used to treat nicotine addiction.

  • The terrestrial biosphere as a net source of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere

    • Hanqin Tian
    • Chaoqun Lu
    • Philippe Ciais
    • Anna M. Michalak
    • Josep G. Canadell
    • Eri Saikawa
    • Deborah N. Huntzinger
    • Kevin R. Gurney
    • Stephen Sitch
    • Bowen Zhang
    • Jia Yang
    • Philippe Bousquet
    • Lori Bruhwiler
    • Guangsheng Chen
    • Edward Dlugokencky
    • Pierre Friedlingstein
    • Jerry Melillo
    • Shufen Pan
    • Benjamin Poulter
    • Ronald Prinn
    • Marielle Saunois
    • Christopher R. Schwalm
    • Steven C. Wofsy

    The net balance of terrestrial biogenic greenhouse gases produced as a result of human activities and the climatic impact of this balance are uncertain; here the net cumulative impact of the three greenhouse gases, methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide, on the planetary energy budget from 2001 to 2010 is a warming of the planet.

  • MARCKS-like protein is an initiating molecule in axolotl appendage regeneration

    • Takuji Sugiura
    • Heng Wang
    • Rico Barsacchi
    • Andras Simon
    • Elly M. Tanaka

    The salamander, or axolotl, is well known to be able to regenerate missing body parts, but the signals that drive the initial proliferative response were unclear; now, a secreted protein has been identified that induces the initial cell cycle response after injury.

  • A receptor heteromer mediates the male perception of female attractants in plants

    • Tong Wang
    • Liang Liang
    • Yong Xue
    • Peng-Fei Jia
    • Wei Chen
    • Meng-Xia Zhang
    • Ying-Chun Wang
    • Hong-Ju Li
    • Wei-Cai Yang

    A male cell-surface receptor-like kinase that responds to the female chemoattractant LURE1 on the pollen tube of Arabidopsis thaliana is identified; LURE1 triggers dimerization of the receptor components and activation of the kinase activity, and the transformation of a component of the A. thaliana receptor to the Capsella rubella species partially breaks down the reproductive isolation barrier.

    See also
    See also
  • Tip-localized receptors control pollen tube growth and LURE sensing in Arabidopsis

    • Hidenori Takeuchi
    • Tetsuya Higashiyama

    Pollen-specific receptor-like kinase 6 (PRK6), which signals through the guanine nucleotide-exchange factors ROPGEFs, is required for sensing of the LURE1 attractant peptide in Arabidopsis thaliana, and functions together with other PRK family kinases; when introduced into the pollen tubes of the related species Capsella rubella, PRK6 could confer responsiveness to AtLURE1.

    See also
    See also
  • NAFLD causes selective CD4+ T lymphocyte loss and promotes hepatocarcinogenesis

    • Chi Ma
    • Aparna H. Kesarwala
    • Tobias Eggert
    • José Medina-Echeverz
    • David E. Kleiner
    • Ping Jin
    • David F. Stroncek
    • Masaki Terabe
    • Veena Kapoor
    • Mei ElGindi
    • Miaojun Han
    • Angela M. Thornton
    • Haibo Zhang
    • Michèle Egger
    • Ji Luo
    • Dean W. Felsher
    • Daniel W. McVicar
    • Achim Weber
    • Mathias Heikenwalder
    • Tim F. Greten

    Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is shown to promote hepatocellular carcinoma through the generation of linoleic acid, disruption of mitochondrial function and selective loss of CD4+ T cells, leading to impaired anti-tumour immunity.