Table of contents



The red planet's big picture p87

Let's not get carried away with the images from NASA's Spirit rover, nor despair of Britain's silent Beagle 2. The best way to explore Mars is through a programme that builds patiently on each mission's successes and failures.


China and SARS: could do better p87

Has the world's most populous nation learnt the lessons of last year's SARS outbreak? Only partially, it seems.




Rover barks before Beagle as Mars success lifts NASA's spirits p89

Tony Reichhardt


Swift response greets return of SARS in China p89

David Cyranoski


Yucca review-board head quits in face of impartiality charges p90

Geoff Brumfiel


Safety concerns prompt US ban on dietary supplement p90

Jonathan Knight


Geneticists chip away at unruly data p91

Erika Check


Canadian prime minister makes science a priority p91

David Spurgeon


News in brief p92



News Features

Hungarian science: Dreaming on the Danube p94

Can Budapest regain its status as one of Europe's scientific hubs? Perhaps, if the generation gap between Soviet-era scientists and young, westward-looking researchers can be bridged. Quirin Schiermeier reports.


Automatic archaeology p96

Digging in the dirt in search of clues to the past has churned up millions of pieces of pottery. Haim Watzman unearths the new technologies being developed to sift through them all.




Cooperation needed to increase fertilizer efficiency p99

Better use of nitrogen could provide more food and reduce the environmental impact.

M. M. Alley


Fertilizer: complex issue calls for informed debate p99

Mark B. David, Gregory F. McIsaac, Robert W. Howarth, Christine L. Goodale and Laurie E. Drinkwater


Fertilizer: no-till farming could reduce run-off p99

Anthony Trewavas



Books and Arts

When development goes wrong p101

Studying mutants helps our understanding of how we all take shape.

Peter Little reviews Mutants by Armand Marie Leroi


Watching the Earth move p102

Michael Matthews reviews Pendulum: Léon Foucault and the Triumph of Science by Amir D. Aczel


A glimpse inside the Sun p103

Jørgen Christensen-Dalsgaard reviews Sunquakes: Probing the Interior of the Sun by Jack B. Zirker



News and Views

A glass bead game p105

Microscopic glass beads coated with lipid membranes provide a sensitive detector of interactions between proteins and ligands. The changing spatial order of the array of beads in solution is the key.

Thomas M. Bayerl


Stem cells: How to make eggs and sperm p106

Embryonic stem cells can develop into many specialized cell types in culture dishes. It now seems that they can also generate primordial germ cells, which then go on to form sperm and eggs.

M. Azim Surani


Ecology: Clouded futures p107

Global warming is altering the distribution and abundance of plant and animal species. Application of a basic law of ecology predicts that many will vanish if temperatures continue to rise.

J. Alan Pounds and Robert Puschendorf


100 and 50 years ago p107


Astronomy: To catch a stellar thief p109

A supernova seen in 1993 defied explanation. Astronomers suspected the dying star had lost much of its hydrogen before the explosion. The discovery of a companion to this star suggests where that gas went...

Thomas Matheson


Cancer: Guarding the guardian? p110

The diversity of cellular stresses that activate the 'guardian of the genome' — p53 — begs the question of how these signals all converge on one protein. Perhaps the key to this integration is the nucleolus.

Henning F. Horn and Karen H. Vousden


Developmental biology: Asymmetric fixation p111

Computer simulations and laboratory experiments have shed light on how an asymmetric pattern of gene expression is fixed in vertebrate embryos — an early step towards asymmetric development of the internal organs.

Nick Monk


Plant development: The flowers that bloom in the spring p112

Christopher Surridge


News and views in brief p113



Brief Communications

Seismology: Explosive craters and soil liquefaction p115

Curious dry craters formed in the aftermath of a disastrous earthquake are explained.

Paul A. Rydelek and Martitia Tuttle


Acoustics: Tuning of vocal tract resonance by sopranos p116

Elodie Joliveau, John Smith and Joe Wolfe




Dating the rise of atmospheric oxygen p117

A. Bekker, H. D. Holland, P.-L. Wang, D. Rumble, III, H. J. Stein, J. L. Hannah, L. L. Coetzee and N. J. Beukes


Notch activity acts as a sensor for extracellular calcium during vertebrate left–right determination p121

Ángel Raya, Yasuhiko Kawakami, Concepción Rodríguez-Esteban, Marta Ibañes, Diego Rasskin-Gutman, Joaquín Rodríguez-León, Dirk Büscher, José A. Feijó and Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte


See also: News and Views by Monk


Letters to Nature

The massive binary companion star to the progenitor of supernova 1993J p129

Justyn R. Maund, Stephen J. Smartt, Rolf P. Kudritzki, Philipp Podsiadlowski and Gerard F. Gilmore


See also: News and Views by Matheson

An intense stratospheric jet on Jupiter p132

F. M. Flasar, V. G. Kunde, R. K. Achterberg, B. J. Conrath, A. A. Simon-Miller, C. A. Nixon, P. J. Gierasch, P. N. Romani, B. Bézard, P. Irwin, G. L. Bjoraker, J. C. Brasunas, D. E. Jennings, J. C. Pearl, M. D. Smith, G. S. Orton, L. J. Spilker, R. Carlson, S. B. Calcutt, P. L. Read, F. W. Taylor, P. Parrish, A. Barucci, R. Courtin, A. Coustenis, D. Gautier, E. Lellouch, A. Marten, R. Prangé, Y. Biraud, T. Fouchet, C. Ferrari, T. C. Owen, M. M. Abbas, R. E. Samuelson, F. Raulin, P. Ade, C. J. Césarsky, K. U. Grossman and A. Coradini


Hybridization of electronic states in quantum dots through photon emission p135

Khaled Karrai, Richard J. Warburton, Christian Schulhauser, Alexander Högele, Bernhard Urbaszek, Ewan J. McGhee, Alexander O. Govorov, Jorge M. Garcia, Brian D. Gerardot and Pierre M. Petroff


Detection of molecular interactions at membrane surfaces through colloid phase transitions p139

Michael M. Baksh, Michal Jaros and Jay T. Groves


See also: News and Views by Bayerl

Critically pressured free-gas reservoirs below gas-hydrate provinces p142

Matthew J. Hornbach, Demian M. Saffer and W. Steven Holbrook


Extinction risk from climate change p145

Chris D. Thomas, Alison Cameron, Rhys E. Green, Michel Bakkenes, Linda J. Beaumont, Yvonne C. Collingham, Barend F. N. Erasmus, Marinez Ferreira de Siqueira, Alan Grainger, Lee Hannah, Lesley Hughes, Brian Huntley, Albert S. van Jaarsveld, Guy F. Midgley, Lera Miles, Miguel A. Ortega-Huerta, A. Townsend Peterson, Oliver L. Phillips and Stephen E. Williams


See also: News and Views by Pounds & Puschendorf

Derivation of embryonic germ cells and male gametes from embryonic stem cells p148

Niels Geijsen, Melissa Horoschak, Kitai Kim, Joost Gribnau, Kevin Eggan and George Q. Daley


See also: News and Views by Surani

T-cell priming by dendriticcells in lymph nodes occurs in three distinct phases p154

Thorsten R. Mempel, Sarah E. Henrickson and Ulrich H. von Andrian


Vernalization in Arabidopsis thaliana is mediated by the PHD finger protein VIN3 p159

Sibum Sung and Richard M. Amasino


Vernalization requires epigenetic silencing of FLC by histone methylation p164

Ruth Bastow, Joshua S. Mylne, Clare Lister, Zachary Lippman, Robert A. Martienssen and Caroline Dean


Bcl10 activates the NF-kappaB pathway through ubiquitination of NEMO p167

Honglin Zhou, Ingrid Wertz, Karen O'Rourke, Mark Ultsch, Somasekar Seshagiri, Michael Eby, Wei Xiao and Vishva M. Dixit


Vinculin activation by talin through helical bundle conversion p171

Tina Izard, Gwyndaf Evans, Robert A. Borgon, Christina L. Rush, Gerard Bricogne and Philippe R. J. Bois


Erratum: Hydrocarbons and the evolution of human culture p175

Charles Hall, Pradeep Tharakan, John Hallock, Cutler Cleveland and Michael Jefferson





Tuning in to yourself p177

Paul Smaglik



Healthy limits p178

The US National Institutes of Health stipends are being used as de facto guidelines for postdoc salaries. But do institutions try to meet them? Karen Kreeger investigates.

Karen Kreeger


Career View

Graduate Journal: From biochemist to engineer p180

Sidney Omelon


Nuts & Bolts: Career journals p180

Deb Koen


Movers p180


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