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Close-up of a crate of mackerels for sale at a market in Genova, Italy.

Small fish, such as mackerel, have a high nutritional value and a low carbon footprint.Credit: Getty

The most climate-friendly seafood

Replacing meat with certain types of sustainably sourced seafood could help people to reduce their carbon footprints without compromising on nutrition, finds an analysis of dozens of marine species that are consumed worldwide. The study points to options that generate fewer greenhouse-gas emissions and are more nutrient-dense sources of protein than beef, pork or chicken:

• Farmed bivalves: shellfish, such as mussels, clams and oysters

• Wild-caught pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) and sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka)

• Wild-caught, small, surface-dwelling (pelagic) fish, such as anchovies, mackerel and herring

Whitefish, such as cod (Gadus sp.), also had a low climate impact, but were among the least nutrient-dense food. Wild-caught crustaceans had the highest emissions, with a carbon footprint rivalled only by that of beef. The authors note that their emissions data do not include ‘post-production’ emissions, such as those generated by refrigeration or transport.

Nature | 4 min read

Reference: Communications Earth & Environment paper

BETTER FISH TO FRY. Graphic showing some seafood has a higher nutritional value and generates fewer emissions than meat.

Source: Ref. 1

What we know about severe monkeypox

So far into the global monkeypox outbreak, scientists are breathing a cautious sigh of relief. The death rate is lower than expected from historical data — about 0.04%, compared with the 1–3% reported during outbreaks caused by a similar viral strain in West Africa. Although people typically experience fewer lesions than in past outbreaks, they seem more likely to appear on sensitive mucosal tissues, such as those in the throat. These factors have caused researchers to re-evaluate what they thought they knew about severe monkeypox.

Nature | 5 min read

Crossref citations come out into the open

The reference lists in Crossref are now free to read and reuse. The Crossref database registers DOIs, or digital object identifiers, for many of the world’s academic publications. Open-science advocates have for years campaigned to make papers’ citation data accessible under liberal copyright licences so that they can be studied to identify research trends and areas of research that need funding, and to spot when scientists are manipulating citation counts.

Nature | 3 min read

How this jellyfish can live forever

The tiny translucent jellyfish Turritopsis dohrnii can revert to an immature polyp state and revive itself again and again — effectively making it immortal. Researchers have now sequenced the jellyfish’s genome and studied the genes involved in its rejuvenation. They found that genes associated with DNA storage were highly expressed in adult jellyfish, but reduced as the animals transformed into polyps. However, genes linked to pluripotency, or the ability of cells to turn into any cell type, were increasingly expressed as the jellyfish reverted.

The New York Times | 4 min read

Reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences paper

Features & opinion

Science and the Supreme Court

Often regarded as the most powerful court in the free world, the US Supreme Court sits in judgement of laws enacted by Congress and state legislatures, as well as constitutional disputes at any level of government. Its unusual power, compared with that of high courts in other democracies, derives in part from its small size and the fact that its nine justices are appointed for life. Three members appointed by former president Donald Trump have tipped the balance to an ultraconservative supermajority that is often sceptical of — if not outright hostile towards — science.

Nature | 10 min read

Our lab vlog showcases our joy in science

When structural-engineering researcher Nan Hu needed to produce a short video about her research laboratory, she turned to her graduate students to help her capture the excitement she brought to the classroom. Now their lab vlog on leading Chinese video-sharing platform Bilibili has more than 20,000 subscribers. “Managing a vlog adds extra hours to my role as a supervisor, but it is a wonderful opportunity to work collaboratively with my students,” she writes. “My students can pick topics that make zero sense to me but go on to receive thousands of likes.”

Nature | 6 min read

News & views

Figure 1

Figure 1 | Auroralumina attenboroughii. a, Dunn et al. present a fossil of the earliest-known member of the cnidarian group, which includes jellyfish and corals. This species is estimated to be between 562 million and 557 million years old (a time frame in the Ediacaran period), and it sheds light on the earliest-known stages of animal evolution. b, The specimen has tentacles and goblet-like structures that arise from tissue called the periderm. Scale bar, 5 centimetres. (Figure adapted from Figs 1 and 4 of ref. 1; CC BY 4.0.)

Fossil of one of the oldest-known animals

An exciting new fossil reveals key features of cnidarians — the ancient group of animals that includes jellyfish and corals. Auroralumina attenboroughii — named in honour of the naturalist David Attenborough — throws the door open on the Ediacaran period (635 million–539 million years ago), when the oldest-known ancestors of this grouping plied the seas. Its body plan is very different from that of other Ediacaran organisms: two bifurcating polyps enclosed in a rigid skeleton, with evidence of simple, densely packed tentacles. It is only a single, imperfect fossil, but it offers tantalizing information about the earliest-known stages of animal evolution.

Nature | 6 min read (Nature paywall)

Quote of the day

“Gobsmacking — a dinosaur ribcage sticking out of somebody’s garden.”

Palaeontologist Steve Brusatte responds after a man in Portugal found an enormous brachiosaurid sauropod skeleton in his backyard. (CNN | 3 min read)