Reviews & Analysis

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  • A tenet of drug discovery states that molecules greater than a certain size don't enter cells. But not only do certain synthetic peptides refute this idea, they also inhibit 'undruggable' biological targets.

    • Paramjit S. Arora
    • Aseem Z. Ansari
    News & Views
  • Stars that host planets experience more mixing of their internal elements than do stars that lack such companions. This correlation may serve as a useful diagnostic in the search for planets around stars other than the Sun.

    • Marc Pinsonneault
    News & Views
  • The FOXP2 gene is implicated in the development of human speech and language. A comparison of the human and chimpanzee FOXP2 proteins highlights the differences in function in the two species.

    • Martin H. Dominguez
    • Pasko Rakic
    News & Views
  • The mechanisms that govern the rate at which glasses soften on heating have long been a mystery. The finding that colloids can mimic the full range of glass-softening behaviours offers a fresh take on the problem.

    • C. Austen Angell
    • Kazuhide Ueno
    News & Views
  • During meiotic cell division, chromosome pairs exchange genetic material in a tightly controlled crossover process. Higher-order chromosome structure may regulate this genetic reshuffling at two distinct stages of meiosis.

    • Yonatan B. Tzur
    • Monica P. Colaiácovo
    News & Views
  • With this issue, it is 140 years since Nature first appeared on 4 November 1869. To mark the anniversary, these two pages offer a miscellany from that issue and from 1889, 1909, 1929, 1949, 1969 and 1989.

    News & Views
  • Immune cells cross the inflamed blood–brain barrier. But it's unclear how brain inflammation begins before immune-cell entry. Studies of a model of multiple sclerosis start to solve this 'chicken and egg' conundrum.

    • Richard M. Ransohoff
    News & Views
  • Earthquakes occur within continental tectonic plates as well as at plate boundaries. Do clusters of such mid-plate events constitute zones of continuing hazard, or are they aftershocks of long-past earthquakes?

    • Tom Parsons
    News & Views
  • Mutations in RAS genes are common in human tumours, but RAS has proved impossible to target with drugs. Its associated NF-κB signalling pathway, however, may turn out to be this tumour gene's Achilles heel.

    • Julian Downward
    News & Views
  • An exercise in experimental evolution using bacteria has been running for more than 20 years and 40,000 generations. The results to date provide a glimpse of a new world, and are cause for both delight and unease.

    • Paul B. Rainey
    News & Views
  • Catalysts steer reactions towards certain products — but the basis of their control is often unclear. Quantum chemical calculations reveal which parameters control bond formation in a network of catalytic reactions.

    • Jens K. Nørskov
    • Frank Abild-Pedersen
    News & Views
  • DNA-binding proteins have the daunting task of finding their binding sites among the 3 billion base pairs of the human genome. The shape of DNA, and not just its sequence, may offer proteins much-needed direction.

    • Tom Tullius
    News & Views
  • A micrometre-sized particle immersed in a liquid can be trapped by light. An experiment shows that the trapping can be accompanied by a whirling whose direction can be reversed by changing the light intensity.

    • Mark I. Dykman
    News & Views
  • Quantum systems habitually leak information, limiting their usefulness for practical applications. By optimally reversing the leak, this information loss has been reduced to a trickle in the solid state.

    • Bob B. Buckley
    • David D. Awschalom
    News & Views
  • The most distant γ-ray burst yet sighted is the earliest astronomical object ever observed in cosmic history. This ancient beacon offers a glimpse of the little-known cosmic dark ages.

    • Bing Zhang
    News & Views
  • Materials that combine ferroic properties — such as ferromagnetism and ferroelectricity — are highly desirable, but rare. A new class of multiferroic solids heralds a fresh approach for making such materials.

    • Ramamoorthy Ramesh
    News & Views