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  • We charted the genetic history of the grey wolf over the past 100,000 years by analysing 72 ancient genomes. Placing dogs into this history, we found that they derive ancestry from at least two separate wolf populations.

    Research Briefing
  • DNA from more than 1,000 marine microbial communities around the world was used to reconstruct around 26,000 genomes. The analyses identified a highly biosynthetically diverse family of bacteria in the open ocean, as well as new enzymes and biochemical compounds.

    Research Briefing
  • Membranes made from metal–organic frameworks contain modular pores that can separate mixtures of gas. By changing the shape of these pores to improve molecular separation, we produced a membrane that could remove nitrogen and carbon dioxide from natural gas in an energy-efficient and cost-effective way.

    Research Briefing
  • Continuous amplification of coherent matter waves has been demonstrated, allowing an exotic state of matter called a Bose–Einstein condensate to be maintained indefinitely. This set-up is the matter-wave analogue of an optical laser enclosed by fully reflective mirrors, and it could have uses in both applied and fundamental physics.

    Research Briefing
  • The performance of lithium-ion batteries fades over time, but the underlying causes are not fully understood. Analysis of lithium- and manganese-rich cathodes now reveals how the lattice of atoms in these materials becomes strained, which releases oxygen and leads to battery failure. Resolving these lattice-strain problems should provide strategies to improve the performance of cathode materials.

    Research Briefing
  • Parkinson’s disease causes slowness of movement, tremor and stiffness, along with mood symptoms such as depression. The brain’s parafascicular thalamus is shown to contain distinct neural circuits for locomotion, motor learning and depression-like states, and targeting these circuits alleviates some deficits in a mouse model of the disease.

    Research Briefing
  • The organizational principles of the eukaryotic cell cycle have yet to be pinned down, and two opposing models have been put forward. Genetic and proteomics analyses in a model eukaryote, fission yeast, reveal that the cell cycle is organized through a hybrid of both models, although the contribution of one strongly outweighs the other.

    Research Briefing
  • We identified a specific neuronal population in the mouse hypothalamus that senses immune signals during an infection and triggers multiple sickness symptoms, including fever and loss of appetite, through direct connections with dedicated homeostatic brain circuits.

    Research Briefing
  • Carbon–carbon single bonds are found in most organic molecules. A new electrocatalytic method can create such bonds by uniting different alkyl carboxylic acids, substantially shortening synthetic routes to useful molecules. The reaction uses inexpensive reagents in a simple and scalable set-up, and allows the inclusion of many other functional groups.

    Research Briefing
  • Neurotransmitters have key roles in regulating the nervous system. To better understand these processes, researchers need tools to analyse neurotransmitter signalling in the organs of living animals. We have invented NeuroString, a soft sensor for monoamine neurotransmitters, which can be fitted to the brain or gut of animals without disturbing the organ’s natural functions.

    Research Briefing
  • Various theories have tried to explain the frequency and consistency of ‘hotspot’ mutations in many tumour-driving genes across different cancers. A model of the fitness benefit of these mutations shows that fundamental trade-offs occur between a tumour’s growth and its visibility to the immune system, with potential therapeutic implications.

    Research Briefing
  • Life on Earth depends on the ability of cells to duplicate their genetic material, encoded in DNA molecules, and pass this information on to the next generation. Elucidation of the molecular mechanism underlying the priming step of this copying process provides insights into how DNA replication begins.

    Research Briefing
  • A long-standing puzzle in molecular biology is how the enzyme USP14 is activated by the proteasome and regulates protein degradation. Time-resolved cryo-electron microscopy combined with deep learning reveals this mechanism in unprecedented detail.

    Research Briefing
  • Policies that aim to reduce poverty often prioritize economic interventions. We show that a programme that addresses not only financial but also psychological and social barriers is effective at helping extremely poor households in Niger. Our results point to a cost-effective approach for alleviating extreme poverty that can be scaled up using government systems.

    Research Briefing
  • The pathogen responsible for the continuing seventh cholera pandemic typically lacks self-replicating plasmids. Genetics, cell biology and bioinformatics analyses have identified two DNA-defence systems that protect bacterial populations from plasmids and bacteriophages, and that might have shaped the evolution of modern Vibrio cholerae.

    Research Briefing
  • The antibiotic fidaxomicin acts selectively on the bacterium Clostridioides difficile, a main cause of intestinal infections. Structural and biochemical experiments reveal a region in the enzyme RNA polymerase that can sensitize the pathogen to fidaxomicin, helping to explain the drug’s selective clinical activity.

    Research Briefing
  • For the first time, audible sounds have been recorded at the surface of Mars by two microphones aboard NASA’s Perseverance rover. Recordings across frequencies of 20 hertz to 20 kilohertz and above reveal the dynamics of the planet’s atmosphere and the distinctive sound-propagation properties of an atmosphere dominated by carbon dioxide.

    Research Briefing
  • Despite decades of research, the plumbing system that links deep thermal fluids to the well-known surface features of Yellowstone National Park remains mostly unexplored. The first views of this system are revealed through the gathering of airborne geophysical data, which are used to generate electrical resistivity and magnetic susceptibility models.

    Research Briefing
  • Exotic quantum states called Floquet–Andreev states have been generated by applying microwave light to superconducting devices known as Josephson junctions made of graphene. The spectral properties of these states suggest that they are long-lived and could therefore be used for practical electronics applications.

    Research Briefing