Review, News & Views, Perspectives, Hypotheses and Analyses

  • News & Views |

    The forces between electrons and nuclei in solids are difficult to image directly. A study shows that these forces can instead be indirectly imaged using the light emitted when the electrons are subjected to a strong laser field.

    • Michael A. Sentef
  • News & Views |

    Fibroblast, epithelial and endothelial cells are more than just the scaffold of an organ — it emerges that they communicate with immune cells and are primed to launch organ-specific gene-expression programs for antiviral defence.

    • Tomás Gomes
    •  & Sarah A. Teichmann
  • News & Views |

    The discovery that larger quantities of blood-borne proteins enter the brains of young, healthy mice than enter those of aged animals will alter our understanding of the blood–brain barrier, and how it changes with age.

    • Roeben N. Munji
    •  & Richard Daneman
  • News & Views |

    A method has been reported that improves the precision of measurements made by gravitational-wave detectors beyond an intrinsic limit — and shows that quantum fluctuations can alter the position of macroscopic objects.

    • Valeria Sequino
    •  & Mateusz Bawaj
  • News & Views |

    Efforts are ongoing to find which human or viral factors underpin whether a person with COVID-19 will develop severe symptoms. Clinical evidence linked to two viral lineages now provides key insights into this enigma.

    • Marios Koutsakos
    •  & Katherine Kedzierska
  • News & Views |

    DNA damage can cause mutations due to failure of DNA repair and errors during DNA replication. Tracking the strand of the DNA double helix on which damage occurs has shed light on processes that affect tumour evolution.

    • Trevor A. Graham
    •  & Sarah E. McClelland
  • News & Views |

    Efforts are intensifying to try to harness antibodies as a therapy for COVID-19. A study reveals the insights that can be gained from antibodies made by a person who had a coronavirus infection that caused the disease SARS.

    • Gary R. Whittaker
    •  & Susan Daniel
  • News & Views |

    Quantum key distribution is a cryptographic method that can guarantee secure communication. A satellite-based experiment has shown that this technique can be applied over long distances without the need for trusted relays.

    • Eleni Diamanti
  • News & Views |

    Global warming is threatening the survival of coral reefs. A laboratory model system has now been developed that should aid efforts to understand reef biology and the processes that underlie harmful bleaching events.

    • Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado
  • News & Views |

    It is thought that dinosaurs laid hard-shelled eggs, whereas ancient marine reptiles gave birth to live young. However, new discoveries of fossilized soft-shelled eggs challenge these long-held tenets of reproductive evolution.

    • Johan Lindgren
    •  & Benjamin P. Kear
  • News & Views |

    Senescence is a hallmark of cellular ageing and contributes to many diseases. A new method enabling immune cells to target senescent cells might offer improved therapeutic options.

    • Verena Wagner
    •  & Jesús Gil
  • News & Views |

    A population of excitatory neurons has been found to have a key role in controlling body temperature in rodents. The discovery adds to a body of work that is raising questions about long-standing models of thermoregulation.

    • Clifford B. Saper
    •  & Natalia L. S. Machado
  • News & Views |

    Exotic ultracold gases called Bose–Einstein condensates have been created on board the International Space Station. This feat is not only a technological landmark, but could also improve our understanding of fundamental physics.

    • Maike D. Lachmann
    •  & Ernst M. Rasel
  • News & Views |

    Altered metabolism and genome instability are hallmarks of cancer. A mechanism now explains how three small molecules that accumulate in tumours connect abnormal metabolism to genomic problems by hindering DNA repair.

    • Lei-Lei Chen
    •  & Yue Xiong
  • News & Views |

    A Laughlin state is a phase of matter that has remarkable features, such as excitations that behave as a fraction of a particle. The long-sought creation of a photonic Laughlin state is a milestone for the field of quantum simulation.

    • Laura Corman
  • News & Views |

    Undifferentiated human stem cells have been coaxed to develop into skin-like structures in vitro. When engrafted onto mice, the structures produce hair — highlighting the potential of the approach for regenerative therapies.

    • Leo L. Wang
    •  & George Cotsarelis
  • News & Views |

    Sex chromosomes must exchange genetic information at a short region during meiotic cell division. Molecular factors have now been found that alter sex-chromosome structure and enhance this exchange process.

    • Ericka Humphrey
    •  & Francesca Cole
  • Analysis
    | Open Access

    Analysis of predicted loss-of-function variants from 125,748 human exomes and 15,708 whole genomes in the Genome Aggregation Database (gnomAD) provides a roadmap for human ‘knockout’ studies and a guide for future research into disease biology and drug-target selection.

    • Eric Vallabh Minikel
    • , Konrad J. Karczewski
    • , Hilary C. Martin
    • , Beryl B. Cummings
    • , Nicola Whiffin
    • , Daniel Rhodes
    • , Jessica Alföldi
    • , Richard C. Trembath
    • , David A. van Heel
    • , Mark J. Daly
    • , Jessica Alföldi
    • , Irina M. Armean
    • , Eric Banks
    • , Louis Bergelson
    • , Kristian Cibulskis
    • , Ryan L. Collins
    • , Kristen M. Connolly
    • , Miguel Covarrubias
    • , Beryl B. Cummings
    • , Mark J. Daly
    • , Stacey Donnelly
    • , Yossi Farjoun
    • , Steven Ferriera
    • , Laurent Francioli
    • , Stacey Gabriel
    • , Laura D. Gauthier
    • , Jeff Gentry
    • , Namrata Gupta
    • , Thibault Jeandet
    • , Diane Kaplan
    • , Konrad J. Karczewski
    • , Kristen M. Laricchia
    • , Christopher Llanwarne
    • , Eric V. Minikel
    • , Ruchi Munshi
    • , Benjamin M. Neale
    • , Sam Novod
    • , Anne H. O’Donnell-Luria
    • , Nikelle Petrillo
    • , Timothy Poterba
    • , David Roazen
    • , Valentin Ruano-Rubio
    • , Andrea Saltzman
    • , Kaitlin E. Samocha
    • , Molly Schleicher
    • , Cotton Seed
    • , Matthew Solomonson
    • , Jose Soto
    • , Grace Tiao
    • , Kathleen Tibbetts
    • , Charlotte Tolonen
    • , Christopher Vittal
    • , Gordon Wade
    • , Arcturus Wang
    • , Qingbo Wang
    • , James S. Ware
    • , Nicholas A. Watts
    • , Ben Weisburd
    • , Nicola Whiffin
    • , Carlos A. Aguilar Salinas
    • , Tariq Ahmad
    • , Christine M. Albert
    • , Diego Ardissino
    • , Gil Atzmon
    • , John Barnard
    • , Laurent Beaugerie
    • , Emelia J. Benjamin
    • , Michael Boehnke
    • , Lori L. Bonnycastle
    • , Erwin P. Bottinger
    • , Donald W. Bowden
    • , Matthew J. Bown
    • , John C. Chambers
    • , Juliana C. Chan
    • , Daniel Chasman
    • , Judy Cho
    • , Mina K. Chung
    • , Bruce Cohen
    • , Adolfo Correa
    • , Dana Dabelea
    • , Mark J. Daly
    • , Dawood Darbar
    • , Ravindranath Duggirala
    • , Josée Dupuis
    • , Patrick T. Ellinor
    • , Roberto Elosua
    • , Jeanette Erdmann
    • , Tõnu Esko
    • , Martti Färkkilä
    • , Jose Florez
    • , Andre Franke
    • , Gad Getz
    • , Benjamin Glaser
    • , Stephen J. Glatt
    • , David Goldstein
    • , Clicerio Gonzalez
    • , Leif Groop
    • , Christopher Haiman
    • , Craig Hanis
    • , Matthew Harms
    • , Mikko Hiltunen
    • , Matti M. Holi
    • , Christina M. Hultman
    • , Mikko Kallela
    • , Jaakko Kaprio
    • , Sekar Kathiresan
    • , Bong-Jo Kim
    • , Young Jin Kim
    • , George Kirov
    • , Jaspal Kooner
    • , Seppo Koskinen
    • , Harlan M. Krumholz
    • , Subra Kugathasan
    • , Soo Heon Kwak
    • , Markku Laakso
    • , Terho Lehtimäki
    • , Ruth J. F. Loos
    • , Steven A. Lubitz
    • , Ronald C. W. Ma
    • , Daniel G. MacArthur
    • , Jaume Marrugat
    • , Kari M. Mattila
    • , Steven McCarroll
    • , Mark I. McCarthy
    • , Dermot McGovern
    • , Ruth McPherson
    • , James B. Meigs
    • , Olle Melander
    • , Andres Metspalu
    • , Benjamin M. Neale
    • , Peter M. Nilsson
    • , Michael C. O’Donovan
    • , Dost Ongur
    • , Lorena Orozco
    • , Michael J. Owen
    • , Colin N. A. Palmer
    • , Aarno Palotie
    • , Kyong Soo Park
    • , Carlos Pato
    • , Ann E. Pulver
    • , Nazneen Rahman
    • , Anne M. Remes
    • , John D. Rioux
    • , Samuli Ripatti
    • , Dan M. Roden
    • , Danish Saleheen
    • , Veikko Salomaa
    • , Nilesh J. Samani
    • , Jeremiah Scharf
    • , Heribert Schunkert
    • , Moore B. Shoemaker
    • , Pamela Sklar
    • , Hilkka Soininen
    • , Harry Sokol
    • , Tim Spector
    • , Patrick F. Sullivan
    • , Jaana Suvisaari
    • , E. Shyong Tai
    • , Yik Ying Teo
    • , Tuomi Tiinamaija
    • , Ming Tsuang
    • , Teresa Dan Turner
    • , Teresa Tusie-Luna
    • , Erkki Vartiainen
    • , James. S. Ware
    • , Hugh Watkins
    • , Rinse K. Weersma
    • , Maija Wessman
    • , James G. Wilson
    • , Ramnik J. Xavier
    • , Stuart L. Schreiber
    •  & Daniel G. MacArthur
  • News & Views |

    Six-hour weather forecasts have been used to validate estimates of climate change hundreds of years from now. Such tests have great potential — but only if our weather-forecasting and climate-prediction systems are unified.

    • Tim Palmer
  • News & Views |

    Grafts of stem-cell-derived precursors of dopamine neurons could be used to treat Parkinson’s disease, but this approach has limitations. Injecting a growth factor three weeks after transplantation can overcome some of these limits.

    • Lorenz Studer
    •  & Viviane Tabar
  • News & Views |

    A powerful radio telescope has peered back through time to observe a galaxy that contained a cold, rotating disk of gas not long after the Big Bang — fuelling the debate about when and how disks first formed in galaxies.

    • Alfred Tiley
  • News & Views |

    An artificial eye has been reported that incorporates densely packed, nanometre-scale light sensors into a hemispherical retina-like component. Some of its sensory capabilities are comparable to that of its biological counterpart.

    • Hongrui Jiang
  • News & Views |

    Seventy laboratories that analysed the same neuroimaging data each produced different results. This finding highlights the potential consequences of a lack of standardized pipelines for processing complex data.

    • Martin Lindquist
  • News & Views |

    It emerges that strings of nucleotides are added to messenger RNAs that are undergoing silencing in nematode worms. The composition of these nucleotide tails promotes the formation of small RNAs that drive heritable gene regulation.

    • Kailee J. Reed
    •  & Taiowa A. Montgomery
  • News & Views |

    Toll-like receptors can initiate an immune response when they detect signs of a viral or microbial threat. New insight into how such receptor activation drives defence programs should aid our efforts to understand autoimmune diseases.

    • Niklas A. Schmacke
    •  & Veit Hornung
  • News & Views |

    Patterns in the vibrations of stars produce a sort of natural music that offers clues to the stars’ internal structure. Astronomers have identified such patterns for some δ Scuti stars, a group for which this music had been elusive.

    • József M. Benkő
    •  & Margit Paparó
  • News & Views |

    Nanoscale particles have been observed to form and grow in the atmospheres of many cities, contradicting our understanding of particle-formation processes. Experiments now reveal a possible explanation for this mystery.

    • Hugh Coe
  • News & Views |

    An analysis of faecal samples reveals that obese people who take cholesterol-lowering statin drugs have a ‘healthier’ community of gut microorganisms than would be expected. What are the implications of this surprising finding?

    • Peter Libby
  • News & Views |

    An elusive type of atom known as pionic helium has been directly excited by laser light for the first time. The work establishes a promising experimental platform for probing fundamental physics.

    • Niels Madsen
  • News & Views |

    Highly charged ions could form the basis of the next generation of ultra-precise clocks, using electronic transitions in the ions as the ‘pendulum’. An ingenious method for characterizing such transitions has been reported.

    • Marianna S. Safronova
  • News & Views |

    People who carry the gene variant APOE4 are at higher-than-average risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. It emerges that this variant is linked to defects in the blood–brain barrier and subsequent cognitive decline.

    • Makoto Ishii
    •  & Costantino Iadecola
  • News & Views |

    The addition of a methyl group to a drug molecule can greatly alter the drug’s pharmacological properties. A catalyst has been developed that enables this ‘magic methyl effect’ to be rapidly explored for drug discovery.

    • Emily B. Corcoran
    •  & Danielle M. Schultz
  • News & Views |

    Elucidating how the brain controls peripheral organs in the fight against infection is crucial for our understanding of brain–body interactions. A study in mice reveals one such pathway worthy of further investigation.

    • Flurin Cathomas
    •  & Scott J. Russo
  • News & Views |

    A study of cancer-associated mutations in normal endometrial glands of the uterus has now been performed using whole-genome sequencing. The analysis sheds light on the early changes that lead to invasive disease.

    • Victoria L. Bae-Jump
    •  & Douglas A. Levine
  • News & Views |

    Early 2018 saw unusually heavy rainfall in Hawaii. Modelling now suggests that groundwater pressure increased owing to rainfall: this might have triggered changes in the eruption of the island’s Kīlauea volcano.

    • Michael Manga
  • News & Views |

    Pancreatic cancer does not respond to certain anticancer treatments that boost immune responses. A mechanism active in tumour cells that contributes to this evasion of immune targeting has been uncovered.

    • Anirban Maitra