Reviews & Analysis

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  • The genome of the microscopic worm Caenorhabditis briggsae has been sequenced, and shows some remarkable differences from the genome of the better known — and physically similar — C. elegans.

    • Mark Blaxter
    News & Views
  • Gamma-ray bursts are the brightest and most distant explosions in the Universe. A convincing body of evidence now links these bursts to supernovae, but there is still more to learn about their origins.

    • Luigi Piro
    News & Views
  • The dating of ancient languages by a technique called glottochronology is undergoing a revival, stimulated by the computational and statistical methods used to tease out evolutionary relationships in biology.

    • David B. Searls
    News & Views
  • Large-scale field trials have been under way to assess how effective badger culls are in stemming the incidence of tuberculosis in cattle. One culling tactic, it seems, increases occurrence of the disease.

    • Timothy J. Roper
    News & Views
  • A painstaking triple-gene-knockout study has revealed a crucial role for insulin receptors in male sexual development. But is multiple-gene targeting the way forward for analysing genome function in mammals?

    • Peter Koopman
    News & Views
  • Studies in flies and mice have revealed a surprising way in which cells regulate gene activity, with consequences for our understanding of organ formation during development.

    • Jonathan A. Epstein
    • Benjamin G. Neel
    News & Views
  • Statistical validation of a relationship between explosive volcanic eruptions and the El Niño/Southern Oscillation is a step forward in understanding the effects of such eruptions on climate.

    • Shanaka de Silva
    News & Views
  • The dodo is most certainly dead. But when did the species finally disappear? A statistical approach allows estimation of the date, and could be applied to other extinctions, both past and present.

    • Stuart Pimm
    News & Views
  • A jet-like flow of material, detected in the vicinity of a dying star, supports a model in which such jets shape the gas cloud around the star into a bipolar nebula. The jet probably comes from an unseen companion star.

    • Noam Soker
    News & Views
  • How do things break? The fracture of materials is part of our everyday experience, and yet the process is not well understood. A study of crack propagation at microscopic scales shows the devil in the details.

    • Jay Fineberg
    News & Views
  • The versatility of the branched macromolecules known as dendrimers is being exploited in various ways — explosively so, in the context of their application as potential drug-delivery systems.

    • E. W. Meijer
    • M. H. P. van Genderen
    News & Views
  • The electrical properties of silver chalcogenides are unusually affected by magnetic fields. A simulation suggests how this might arise from tiny imperfections and could facilitate the design of new materials.

    • Thomas F. Rosenbaum
    News & Views