Reviews & Analysis

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  • A metallochaperone protein that ensures that zinc ions are delivered to a crucial cellular enzyme has now been discovered. The finding underscores the subtleties of controlling cellular zinc allocation when the metal is scarce.

    • Wolfgang Maret
    News & Views
  • Data on 21 billion Facebook connections reveal that a new measure of social capital — childhood friendships between people of high and low socio-economic status — is linked to economic mobility later in life.

    • Noam Angrist
    • Bruce Sacerdote
    News & Views
  • A cryptographic scheme offers a secure way of exchanging data using a phenomenon called quantum entanglement. The approach relies on special quantum correlations between particles that help to prevent tampering.

    • Krister Shalm
    News & Views
  • Mutated forms of the protein Akt can be central drivers of cancer metabolism. A mechanism by which Akt promotes synthesis of the metabolic molecule coenzyme A broadens our understanding of the protein’s activity.

    • Philipp Poeller
    • Almut Schulze
    News & Views
  • An analysis of ketamine and cocaine use in mice reveals that the drugs trigger release of the neurotransmitter dopamine through different mechanisms, and indicates that the risk of addiction to ketamine is low.

    • Rianne Campbell
    • Mary Kay Lobo
    News & Views
  • Cooling molecular gases to nanokelvin temperatures is challenging because the molecules start to stick together when they reach the microkelvin range. Using a strong, rotating microwave field, a gas of sodium–potassium polar molecules has been stabilized and cooled to 21 nanokelvins — opening up many possibilities to explore exotic states of quantum matter.

    Research Briefing
  • An analysis suggests that ice geometry and flow speeds control how meltwater affects the slipperiness of the bed beneath the Greenland ice sheet. Changes in these conditions could therefore influence future ice-mass loss.

    • Stephen J. Livingstone
    News & Views
  • What underpins how humans evolved the capacity to consume milk during adulthood? A look at the connection between health and the genetic changes needed to break down milk offers a surprising new perspective.

    • Shevan Wilkin
    News & Views
  • The current status and future perspectives for quantum simulation are overviewed, and the potential for practical quantum computational advantage is analysed by comparing classical numerical methods with analogue and digital quantum simulators.

    • Andrew J. Daley
    • Immanuel Bloch
    • Peter Zoller
    Perspective
  • The race is on to develop nanometre-scale motors for future tiny machines. The latest entry is a multi-component motor that self-assembles from DNA, harnesses Brownian motion to spin a rotor, and can wind up a molecular spring.

    • Henry Hess
    News & Views
  • An analysis of fossil specimens of the inner ear helps to refine the timeframe of a key transition in vertebrate evolution — when our mammal-like ancestors began to regulate and maintain a high body temperature.

    • Stefan Glasauer
    • Hans Straka
    News & Views
  • Applying strain to a material that has a type of magnetism called antiferromagnetism allows its magnetization to be fully switched with an electric current — making it appealing for use in next-generation magnetic memory devices.

    • Kab-Jin Kim
    • Kyung-Jin Lee
    News & Views
  • Egg cells need to stay out of harm’s way to keep the next generation healthy and free of unwanted mutations. A mechanism by which eggs avoid the ravages caused by harmful reactive oxygen species has now been discovered.

    • Deepak Adhikari
    • John Carroll
    News & Views
  • We determined the whole-genome sequences of 150,119 individuals from the UK Biobank and identified more than 600 million sequence variants. The comprehensive data identify novel associations with human traits and show the functional importance of sequence variants inside and outside protein-coding regions.

    Research Briefing
  • A dynamic mode of stem-cell regulation has been discovered. Intestinal stem cells use migration to maintain a large pool of multifunctional cells, perhaps endowing the organ with robust responses to injury.

    • Stephanie J. Ellis
    • Elaine Fuchs
    News & Views
  • In regions of the globe at middle and high latitudes, glacial periods have waxed and waned for hundreds of millennia. Glacier-derived sediment in a Peruvian lake suggests that tropical glaciers have moved to a similar beat.

    • Aaron E. Putnam
    News & Views
  • A single-cell analysis suggests that the 3D location of chromosomes in the cell nucleus contributes to their likelihood of being involved in genomic rearrangements associated with cancer.

    • Krishnendu Guin
    • Tom Misteli
    News & Views