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  • Myocardial infarction, or heart attack, is one of the world’s biggest killers. An analysis of spatial and single-cell changes to human tissue after a heart attack provides insights into disease mechanisms and builds a resource for the discovery of therapeutics.

    Research Briefing
  • Microglia are immune cells that regulate the function and activity of the nervous system. Detailed molecular and spatial studies in mice reveal that different types of neuron govern the density and states of nearby microglia, interactions that can shape local neural circuits.

    Research Briefing
  • A newly discovered population of white-spruce trees is advancing northwards in Arctic Alaska, driven by ecological factors that are associated with climate change at this latitude — including stronger winter winds, deeper snow and greater nutrient availability in the soil.

    Research Briefing
  • Microscopic light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have applications ranging from augmented-reality displays to large-screen products, but their brightness typically decreases as their size is reduced. A solution to this problem has now been found and used to manufacture bright blue nanoscale LEDs.

    Research Briefing
  • 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
  • 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
  • Tuning the resonances of an object is crucial in many settings, from musical instruments to ultrasensitive detectors for electromagnetic and gravitational waves. This task might seem straightforward but its mathematical description has been shown to involve rich topological structures known as knots and braids.

    Research Briefing
  • State-of-the-art computer simulations show that the first supermassive black holes were born in rare, turbulent reservoirs of gas in the primordial Universe without the need for finely tuned, exotic environments — contrary to what has been thought for almost two decades.

    Research Briefing
  • Quantum entanglement has been generated between two single-atom quantum memories over a 33-kilometre optical-fibre link. The wavelength of the photons emitted by these quantum memories was converted to one that works in telecommunications without altering the polarization of the photons, paving the way for the long-distance links of future quantum networks.

    Research Briefing
  • Swirling vortices have been directly observed in a flow of electric current for the first time. Unlike conventional viscous fluids, collective fluid-like behaviour in this case is not caused by particle–particle collisions, but results from a previously unidentified mechanism involving single electrons scattering from material surfaces at small angles.

    Research Briefing
  • Adolescence is an intensely stressful life stage. We developed a brief online training module to help young people to understand stress and to respond to it constructively. The module improved their psychological and physiological responses to stress and boosted academic performance.

    Research Briefing
  • 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