Reviews & Analysis

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  • Many bacteria use chemical signals to coordinate group behaviour. A signal that suppresses virulence has been identified in the bacterium that causes cholera, and could be a new therapeutic target.

    • Matthew R. Parsek
    News & Views
  • A coupled model of palaeoclimate and carbon cycling turns up the heat on the idea that Earth once became a giant snowball. It supports instead a milder 'slushball Earth' history — but piquant questions remain.

    • Alan J. Kaufman
    News & Views
  • Cooled to temperatures just above absolute zero, solid helium starts to behave very oddly. But its 'supersolid' behaviour might just be the result of imperfections that change the bulk properties of the crystal.

    • Alan T. Dorsey
    • David A. Huse
    News & Views
  • Researchers have now probably pinpointed all the genes in the MHC genomic region that are risk factors in type 1 diabetes. As the MHC is unusually rich in genes involved in immunity, this is truly exciting.

    • Bart O. Roep
    News & Views
  • Is special relativity a clapped-out classical theory, to be replaced by a shiny new quantum model as soon as possible? On the contrary, it would seem: the theory still has a youthful ability to surprise us.

    • Giovanni Amelino-Camelia
    News & Views
  • Venus is Earth's near twin in mass and radius, yet its atmosphere, mostly composed of carbon dioxide, has a surface temperature and pressure far higher than those of the Earth. This paper discusses the first year of observations by Venus Express, which bring into focus the evolutionary paths by which the climates of two similar planets diverged from common beginnings to such extremes.

    • Håkan Svedhem
    • Dmitry V. Titov
    • Olivier Witasse
  • The Venus Express mission has returned its first findings on the harsh atmosphere of our sister planet. It's another step towards explaining how Venus turned out so differently from our balmy home.

    • Andrew P. Ingersoll
    News & Views
  • Where would you start in trying to work out the structure of a macromolecular machine consisting of 456 proteins? Taking a combined experimental and computational approach is one answer.

    • John D. Aitchison
    • Richard W. Wozniak
    News & Views
  • The atoms and bonds that make up complex solids can be identified chemically — a feat made possible by cleverly combining spectroscopic and structural information conveyed by electrons scattered through a thin sample.

    • Christian Colliex
    News & Views
  • The p53 protein is widely studied for its function as a tumour suppressor, preventing cancer. It emerges that this protein also has an essential physiological role in regulating embryo implantation in mice.

    • Colin L. Stewart
    News & Views