Reviews & Analysis

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  • Egg cells need to stay out of harm’s way to keep the next generation healthy and free of unwanted mutations. A mechanism by which eggs avoid the ravages caused by harmful reactive oxygen species has now been discovered.

    • Deepak Adhikari
    • John Carroll
    News & Views
  • A dynamic mode of stem-cell regulation has been discovered. Intestinal stem cells use migration to maintain a large pool of multifunctional cells, perhaps endowing the organ with robust responses to injury.

    • Stephanie J. Ellis
    • Elaine Fuchs
    News & Views
  • In regions of the globe at middle and high latitudes, glacial periods have waxed and waned for hundreds of millennia. Glacier-derived sediment in a Peruvian lake suggests that tropical glaciers have moved to a similar beat.

    • Aaron E. Putnam
    News & Views
  • A single-cell analysis suggests that the 3D location of chromosomes in the cell nucleus contributes to their likelihood of being involved in genomic rearrangements associated with cancer.

    • Krishnendu Guin
    • Tom Misteli
    News & Views
  • Self-assembling ‘crystals’ of starfish embryos exhibit a curious behaviour termed odd elasticity, which seemingly violates Newton’s laws of classical mechanics. This discovery poses questions for physicists and biologists alike.

    • Jack Binysh
    • Anton Souslov
    News & Views
  • A close look at the cells that drive cancer growth after chemotherapy, and thereby contribute to fatal tumour progression, provides new insights into the identity of the cells that manage to survive treatment.

    • Sumaiyah K. Rehman
    • Catherine A. O’Brien
    News & Views
  • Brown fat in the body converts energy into heat. The discovery that inosine molecules are released from dying brown fat and induce heat production in nearby brown fat cells could point to a way of combating obesity.

    • Katrien De Bock
    • Christian Wolfrum
    News & Views
  • A combination of functional imaging and gene-expression profiling in brain tissue has been used to unravel the properties of 35 subtypes of neuron in mice, revealing a gene-expression axis that governs each subtype’s activity.

    • Hongkui Zeng
    • Saskia E. J. de Vries
    News & Views
  • Enzymes use molecular clusters containing iron and sulfur atoms to bind and ‘fix’ nitrogen gas into a bioavailable form. A synthetic cluster that binds and reduces nitrogen molecules casts light on the mechanism of fixation.

    • Daniël L. J. Broere
    News & Views
  • A mechanism resembling a crankshaft switches the electric polarization of a material in response to changes in an applied magnetic field. The resulting four-state switch is linked to the material’s intriguing topology.

    • Wei Ren
    • Laurent Bellaiche
    News & Views
  • Lung samples housed in medical archives have yielded three genomes for the influenza A virus that caused the 1918 global pandemic. The sequences reveal mutations that might have triggered the pandemic’s devastating second wave.

    • Martha I. Nelson
    • Elodie Ghedin
    News & Views
  • A simple method for incorporating molecules into the gaps of stacked semimetallic materials through immersion offers an efficient way of filtering electrons, which could be useful for information-storage technologies.

    • Xi Ling
    News & Views
  • The discovery that gut viruses can be transmitted from mouse pups to their mothers in saliva during breastfeeding reveals previously unrecognized sites of viral replication and means of viral transmission.

    • Elizabeth A. Kennedy
    • Megan T. Baldridge
    News & Views
  • A compound made by plants used in traditional medicine has been prepared by chemical synthesis, providing enough for biological testing. The unexpected finding that it acts at opioid receptors raises prospects for drug discovery.

    • Nicholas P. R. Onuska
    • Joshua G. Pierce
    News & Views
  • How a bacterium coordinates the assembly of its outer layers, and couples the formation of this envelope to cell growth and division, is not fully understood. Assessing the role of peptidoglycan molecules provides some answers.

    • Michaël Deghelt
    • Jean-François Collet
    News & Views
  • An experiment firing helium-8 nuclei at a proton target has generated evidence that four neutrons can exist transiently without any other matter. But doubts remain, because the existence of such systems is at odds with theory.

    • Lee G. Sobotka
    • Maria Piarulli
    News & Views