Reviews & Analysis

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  • Martian clays present a conundrum: the models proposed to explain their formation require conditions that are not predicted by computational climate simulations. Experiments now suggest an alternative scenario.

    • Laura Schaefer
    News & Views
  • The molecule 19,20-dihydroxydocosapentaenoic acid, formed by the metabolism of a fatty acid involved in normal brain function, promotes the development of a diabetes-associated form of blindness in a mouse model.

    • Keisuke Yanagida
    • Timothy Hla
    News & Views
  • Manipulation of host-cell metabolism is an essential aspect of viral replication cycles. Viral co-option of a cellular long non-protein-coding RNA has now been found to be a key step in this process.

    • Nicholas S. Heaton
    • Bryan R. Cullen
    News & Views
  • Quantum-computing devices can be more powerful than their classical counterparts, but controlling large quantum systems is difficult. Two studies report work that overcomes this challenge.

    • Christine Muschik
    News & Views
  • As pluripotent stem cells become primed to give rise to all bodily cell types, they begin to form the amniotic cavity in which the mammalian fetus will grow. A checkpoint that gates this transition has now been identified.

    • Julien G. Dumortier
    • Jean-Léon Maître
    News & Views
  • The way in which chromosomes come together within a single nucleus after cell division has now been shown to involve a small DNA-binding protein named BAF, which might help to join chromosomes with one another.

    • Tejas Dharmaraj
    • Katherine L. Wilson
    News & Views
  • Rhodium catalysts have been developed that can be tuned to produce two different products from methane. The findings could aid the development of industrial processes that exploit this abundant resource.

    • Ive Hermans
    News & Views
  • The evolutionarily conserved enzyme RNA polymerase III is a driver of protein synthesis and cell growth. It emerges that partial suppression of this essential enzyme extends lifespan in yeast, roundworms and flies.

    • Bruce A. Edgar
    • Savraj S. Grewal
    News & Views
  • The relative roles of biological and environmental factors in driving evolutionary change have been unclear. Now fossil analysis shows that their action depends on where an animal group is in its evolutionary trajectory.

    • Charles R. Marshall
    News & Views
  • A system for monitoring a person’s vital signs — such as their blood pressure and heart rate — offers many advantages over currently used technologies, including enhanced sensing capabilities, comfort and convenience.

    • Leena Ukkonen
    • Lauri Sydänheimo
    News & Views
  • Materials that consist of just one or a few layers of atoms could have a range of useful applications. Computer simulations now show that the element tellurium might form three such phases, and that they have potentially useful properties.

    • Evan J. Reed
    News & Views
  • A single antibody uses multiple antiviral mechanisms to block the replication of influenza B viruses in mice and ferrets. The development could inform research into improved flu vaccines.

    • Peter Palese
    News & Views
  • The physical nature of two regions called large low-shear-velocity provinces at the base of Earth's mantle is uncertain. A measurement of their density has implications for our understanding of mantle dynamics. See Article p.321

    • Barbara Romanowicz
    News & Views
  • Modelling suggests that Pluto's atmospheric temperature is regulated by haze, unlike the other planetary bodies in the Solar System. The finding has implications for our understanding of exoplanetary atmospheres. See Letter p.352

    • Robert A. West
    News & Views
  • Microbial activity in the sea results in a loss of bioavailable nitrogen. It emerges that the climate phenomenon called the El Niño–Southern Oscillation has a surprisingly large effect on the size of this loss.

    • Katja Fennel
    News & Views
  • Inhibiting the protein PD-1 can activate T cells that trigger immune responses against tumour cells. But it emerges that, in mice, this immunotherapy exacerbates a cancer that involves the T cells themselves. See Letter p.121

    • Aya Ludin
    • Leonard I. Zon
    News & Views
  • Analyses in mice suggest that dietary salt increases blood pressure partly by affecting some of the microbes that inhabit the gut. The implications of this work for hypertension warrant further study in humans. See Article p.585

    • David A. Relman
    News & Views
  • A study of 64 archaeological sites across four continents shows that the growth of agricultural and political systems provoked economic disparities, more so in Eurasia than in North America. See Letter p.619

    • Michelle Elliott
    News & Views