Daily briefing: Fever helps immune cells crawl along blood-vessel walls

Why getting hot helps fight infection, tiny ancient animal carcasses found in buried Antarctic lake and the straight dope on screen time and adolescent well-being.

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The borehole and hot water drill

Researchers used a hot-water drill to bore through a kilometre of ice, creating a portal with a diameter of just 60 centimetres.Credit: Billy Collins/SALSA Science Team

EXCLUSIVE: Tiny animal carcasses found in buried Antarctic lake

Ancient crustaceans and a tardigrade have been discovered in a buried Antarctic lake that has just been explored for the first time. Subglacial Lake Mercer had lain undisturbed for thousands of years until researchers succeeded in melting a narrow portal through the ice on 26 December. Scientists thinks that the creatures inhabited the waters of nearby mountains sometime in the past, before the area was smothered in ice, and then were somehow carried into the lake.

Nature | 7 min read

Read more: The hunt for life below Antarctic ice

Scientists are preparing for a chaotic no-deal Brexit

British scientists are preparing for the ever more likely scenario that the United Kingdom will crash out of the European Union on 29 March without any trade and migration agreements in place. Vital lab supplies could be in jeopardy as trade tariffs take effect at the border, EU funding would be cut off for UK-based research and uncertainty hangs over the heads of EU-citizen scientists who work in Britain (and vice versa).

Nature | 9 min read

How a fever helps us to battle infection

A fever fights infection by helping immune cells to crawl along blood-vessel walls to attack invading microbes. Scientists found that a fever triggers immune cells to produce proteins that protect cells against the heat. The proteins also kick off a reaction that helps T cells migrate to infection sites.

Nature Research Highlights | 4 min read

Reference: Immunity paper

Get more of Nature’s Research Highlights: short picks from the latest papers.


Screen time boogeyman disappears in the light

A huge analysis of the data on digital-technology use and adolescent well-being found a statistically significant negative association between the two. But the effects explained at most 0.4% of the variation in well-being — smaller than the negative association of wearing glasses. The digital revolution is without doubt changing modern life, argues a Nature editorial, and we need more and better data to work out what impact that is having.

Nature | 4 min read

Mystery DNA might help during hungry times

In this week’s podcast, we explore how stretches of non-coding DNA, called introns, in genes could have an important function: helping cells to survive starvation. Also in the podcast this week, we hear how scientists are using a robot to simulate the gait of a creature that lived before the dinosaurs.

Nature Podcast | 23 min listen

Subscribe to the Nature Podcast on iTunes or Google Podcasts.or Google Podcasts.


A snow leopard traverses a rocky slope at night in the nearby high altitude Hemis National Park in India.

Snow leopards in the high Asian mountains have been aided by the creation of national parks.Credit: Steve Winter/National Geographic Creative

Saving snow leopards in a war zone

In a new book, conservationist Alex Dehgan shares the trials, triumphs and occasional absurdity of building a conservation programme in extreme circumstances — including, on a few occasions, staring down the barrel of an AK-47 rifle.

Nature | 5 min read


Barbara Kiser’s pick of the top five science books to read this weekincludes the paradox of human nature, our obsession with the skies, and the realities of transplant surgery.

Nature | 3 min read


Source: X.-P. Song et al. Nature 560, 639–643 (2018).


Make the most of your ‘20% time’

Inspired by a Google initiative, data-driven business-development postdoc Carsten Lund Pedersen decided to put aside 20% of his time for personal passion projects on a regular basis. He explains how he carves out the time for curiosity-driven exploration.

Nature | 4 min read


A patient attends a session in a cryotherapy cabin under the supervision of a physiotherapist in Marseille, France.

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