Reviews & Analysis

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  • Many bacteria can adopt different lifestyles: in a free-living state, they are virulent and cause disease; in a surface-attached community, they are less virulent but may go unnoticed. How is this ‘decision’ made?

    • George A. O'Toole
    News & Views
  • Quaoar, a large body in the Kuiper belt, has crystalline water ice on its surface, yet conditions there should favour amorphous ice. Does this mean that resurfacing has taken place — perhaps even volcanism?

    • David J. Stevenson
    News & Views
  • Understanding how early auditory memories are laid down could help to explain their role in vocal development. Some ingenious experiments in birds provide fresh ideas about how such memories are represented.

    • Daniel Margoliash
    News & Views
  • Chickens have been an invaluable model organism for decades. Their usefulness in research, from genomics to breeding, will further increase with the sequencing of the genome of one chicken species.

    • Jeremy Schmutz
    • Jane Grimwood
    News & Views
  • A long climatic record shows that episodic wet periods in northeastern Brazil are linked to distant climate anomalies. The ocean–atmosphere system can evidently undergo rapid and global reorganization.

    • John C. H. Chiang
    • Athanasios Koutavas
    News & Views
  • Ion channels controlled by sound underlie the sense of hearing. Having long eluded researchers, the first such mammalian channel has now been identified in the mouse inner ear.

    • Jonathan Ashmore
    News & Views
  • The protein clathrin forms lattice-like coats on transport vesicles that bud from cell membranes. High-resolution models of the lattice reveal interactions involved in its disassembly once the vesicles have formed.

    • Frances M. Brodsky
    News & Views
  • Evidence of unexpected complexity in an ancient community in Uruguay is a further blow to the conventional view of prehistoric development in marginal areas of lowland South America.

    • Peter W. Stahl
    News & Views
  • The European heatwave of 2003: was it merely a rare meteorological event or a first glimpse of climate change to come? Probably both, is the answer, and the anthropogenic contribution can be quantified.

    • Christoph Schär
    • Gerd Jendritzky
    News & Views
  • It's generally been thought that, during cell division, only proteins are necessary to assemble the machine that segregates chromosomes. But a new molecular requirement has been discovered.

    • Eric Karsenti
    News & Views
  • To reproduce, cells must copy their genetic material and distribute the replicas into two daughter cells. A self-perpetuating molecular oscillator regulates periodic transitions between these two processes.

    • Jiri Lukas
    • Jiri Bartek
    News & Views