Reviews & Analysis

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  • A planet with a mass lower than that of Neptune has been detected as its gravity bent the light from a remote star. This lensing technique adds to our arsenal for spotting small planets outside the Solar System.

    • Didier Queloz
    News & Views
  • Is there a unified theory that relates size and metabolic rate across all organisms? Maybe not, according to the results of experiments that measured respiration in plants of widely varying mass.

    • Lars O. Hedin
    News & Views
  • An array of nanomagnets has been designed to resemble the disordered magnetic state known as ‘spin ice’. This could transform our understanding of disordered matter and, potentially, lead to new technologies.

    • Steven T. Bramwell
    News & Views
  • Cancer drugs are increasingly designed to target specific cell-signalling pathways. When, and in what combination, these drugs should be used might be judged by analysing the gene expression signature of the tumour.

    • Julian Downward
    News & Views
  • Among other effects, bromine released by biological processes in the oceans apparently reduces ozone levels in the troposphere. This source may be a link between atmospheric composition and climate change.

    • Ross J. Salawitch
    News & Views
  • To survive environmental stresses, plants must respond to the hormone abscisic acid. The receptors for this hormone have remained elusive, but one receptor with unique functions in flowering has now been identified.

    • Julian I. Schroeder
    • Josef M Kuhn
    News & Views
  • The decay of proton-rich nuclei by the emission of a single proton has been known about for some time, and is well understood. The latest observation of two-proton emission, however, will provoke some head-scratching.

    • Juha Äystö
    News & Views
  • Contrary to the traditional view, the main olfactory pathway can mediate responses to pheromones as well as to common odours. Recent studies show that pheromone-activated hormonal systems extend widely within the brain.

    • Gordon M. Shepherd
    News & Views
  • The harlequin frogs of tropical America are at the sharp end of climate change. About two-thirds of their species have died out, and altered patterns of infection because of changes in temperature seem to be the cause.

    • Andrew R. Blaustein
    • Andy Dobson
    News & Views
  • Magnetic field lines are known to reorganize themselves in plasmas, converting magnetic to particle energy. Evidence harvested from the solar wind implies that the scale of the effect is larger than was thought.

    • Götz Paschmann
    News & Views
  • Research on embryonic stem cells holds huge promise for understanding and treating disease. Many people oppose such research on religious and ethical grounds, but two new methods may bypass some of these objections.

    • Irving L. Weissman
    News & Views
  • Living terrestrial vegetation emits large amounts of methane into the atmosphere. This unexpected finding, if confirmed, will have an impact on both greenhouse-gas accounting and research into sources of methane.

    • David C. Lowe
    News & Views
  • Wiring up retinal neurons to the correct brain region during development is a feat of precision growth. A novel directional cue repels retinal neuron fibres, acting as a counterbalance to a known attractive signal.

    • Liqun Luo
    News & Views
  • The most accurate way of determining the size of some bodies in the Solar System is to observe them as they pass across the face of a star. In the case of Charon, Pluto's largest satellite, it's been a long wait.

    • David J. Tholen
    News & Views
  • A major player among the phytoplankton can exploit a source of phosphorus previously thought to be unavailable to it. That ability may provide an ecological advantage in nutrient-depleted regions of the open ocean.

    • Sergio A. Sañudo-Wilhelmy
    News & Views