News & Views

  • 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
  • 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
  • News & Views |

    The mammalian gut must defend against a variety of infectious agents. Neurons, cells not usually thought of as first-responders during infection, are now found to aid the gut’s barrier function and stop bacteria from spreading elsewhere.

    • Romana R. Gerner
    •  & Manuela Raffatellu
  • News & Views |

    In a mirror world, antiparticles should behave in the same way as particles. But it emerges that leptons — neutrinos, electrons and their more exotic cousins — might not obey this expected pattern.

    • Silvia Pascoli
    •  & Jessica Turner
  • News & Views |

    Tools have been developed to project inequalities in education around the world to 2030. They reveal that overall inequality will decline, but that all world regions will fall short of achieving universal secondary education.

    • Monica Grant
  • News & Views |

    The timing of disruptions to biodiversity associated with global warming is a key, but little-explored, dimension of change. Will losses in biodiversity occur all at once, or be spread out over time?

    • Jennifer M. Sunday
  • News & Views |

    Silicon used for electronics has a cubic crystal lattice, which makes the material unsuitable for photonics applications. A method for producing germanium and silicon–germanium alloys that have hexagonal lattices offers a solution.

    • Anna Fontcuberta i Morral
  • News & Views |

    Visualization of the rhythmic oscillations of the mouse and human segmentation clocks, which are crucial to spine development, is now possible thanks to the development of sophisticated cell-culture systems.

    • Adelaida Palla
    •  & Helen Blau
  • News & Views |

    The principle of mirror symmetry, which states that nuclear structure remains the same when protons are swapped for neutrons and vice versa, has been found to be broken in the lowest-energy forms of a mirror pair of nuclei.

    • Bertram Blank
  • News & Views |

    An electrically neutral radical has been found to be a potent chemical reducing agent when excited by light. Remarkably, it is produced from a positively charged precursor that has long been used as a strong excited-state oxidizing agent.

    • Radek Cibulka
  • News & Views |

    Psychological stress can trigger physiological responses, including an increase in body temperature. A neural circuit that underlies this stress-induced heat response has been identified.

    • Dayu Lin
  • News & Views |

    Clinicians use ultrasound videos of heartbeats to assess subtle changes in the heart’s pumping function. A method that uses artificial intelligence might simplify these complex assessments when heartbeats are out of rhythm.

    • Partho P. Sengupta
    •  & Donald A. Adjeroh
  • News & Views |

    In 1980, a method was found to determine the amount of carbon dioxide in ancient air trapped in polar ice — providing direct evidence that CO2 is coupled to climate, and affects global temperatures in the past, present and future.

    • Jean-Robert Petit
    •  & Dominique Raynaud
  • News & Views |

    Satellite tracking of marine predators in the Southern Ocean has revealed key ecological areas under disproportionate pressure from human activities. These results show the value of tracking data for informing conservation efforts.

    • Ana M. M. Sequeira
  • News & Views |

    A zinc-sensing ion channel, Hodor, has now been found in the intestine of fruit flies. Hodor activates the TORC1 signalling pathway, and in doing so, influences organism-wide growth and metabolism.

    • Y. Rose Citron
    •  & Roberto Zoncu
  • News & Views |

    A newly discovered 66.7-million-year-old fossil bird excavated in Belgium provides us with the best evidence so far for understanding when the living groups of birds first evolved and began to diverge.

    • Kevin Padian
  • News & Views |

    Cell death by a process called apoptosis inhibits inflammation in surrounding tissue. The finding that dying apoptotic cells release a tailored cocktail of metabolite molecules reveals a way in which they influence their living neighbours.

    • Douglas R. Green
  • News & Views |

    How Nature reported deep diving on dry land in 1970, and the history of electrotherapy in 1920.