Reviews & Analysis

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  • Getting to the bottom of events at the boundary between Earth's core and mantle is fiendishly difficult. The latest analysis invokes evidence from an isotope of tungsten to conclude that the two do not interact.

    • Erik Hauri
    News & Views
  • Data on the chimpanzee genome help in detecting differential selection on individual genes, and in judging whether normal microevolutionary processes are sufficient to account for human origins.

    • David Penny
    News & Views
  • Studies of human tumours and the immune system have revealed that cutting and pasting of proteins can generate new peptide variants. This startling finding has implications for both proteomics and immunity.

    • Hans-Georg Rammensee
    News & Views
  • Superfluids flow without resistance. It's hard to imagine, but quantum mechanically possible, that solids should do the same at low enough temperatures. Helium-4 might be the first known 'supersolid'.

    • John Beamish
    News & Views
  • 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
    News & Views
  • 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
    • Karen H. Vousden
    News & Views
  • 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
    • Robert Puschendorf
    News & Views
  • 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
    News & Views
  • 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
    News & Views
  • 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
    News & Views
  • A fossil skull from China, dating to 55 million years ago, provides much-needed substantial evidence of early primates in Asia. Interpretation of the creature's eye size and activity pattern will spark debate.

    • Robert D. Martin
    News & Views
  • On Earth, no living organism can function without water. It is, in the words of Albert Szent-Györgyi, the matrix of life. But is it reasonable to assume that this maxim holds on other worlds too?

    • Philip Ball
    News & Views
  • Physical processes in the Southern Ocean largely control nutrient distribution in the global marine environment, a finding that further highlights the influence of this oceanic region on Earth's climate.

    • Joachim Ribbe
    News & Views
  • Newly made proteins are moved across cellular membranes through a protein channel. The crystal structure of this channel is now revealed and confirms expectations that it must change shape to allow proteins to pass.

    • Jordi Benach
    • John F. Hunt
    News & Views