Reviews & Analysis

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  • Deciphering how stars form within turbulent, dense clouds of molecular gas has been a challenge. An innovative technique that uses a tree diagram provides insight into the process.

    • Ralph E. Pudritz
    News & Views
  • A much-needed theoretical analysis deals with whether the principle known as 'costly punishment' helps to maintain cooperation in human society. It will prompt a fresh wave of experiments and theory.

    • Bettina Rockenbach
    • Manfred Milinski
    News & Views
  • Cancer can be defined by six hallmarks, including uncontrollable growth, immortality and the ability to invade other tissues. Increasing evidence suggests that a seventh feature should make this list — inflammation.

    • Alberto Mantovani
    News & Views
  • Quantum systems are uncertain by nature. By 'squeezing' this uncertainty, physicists can make better measurements of quantities such as distance. But overdoing it makes things burst out all over the place.

    • Geoff J. Pryde
    News & Views
  • Everyone carries some baggage they would like to lose. For the histone protein H3, that baggage is a chunk of its tail, which when clipped off affects the expression of genes with which the histone is associated.

    • Mary Ann Osley
    News & Views
  • The frustration that atomic interactions can undergo is not unlike that occurring when human aims are thwarted. An elegant study offers a way of visualizing the hitherto mysterious dynamics of 'frustrated' systems.

    • Mark Harris
    News & Views
  • An analysis of neuronal proteins reveals that many are regulated through covalent attachment of the lipid palmitate. This reversible modification seems to affect the form and function of synaptic junctions.

    • Maurine E. Linder
    News & Views
  • Before picking up the phone and calling a technician to fix a faulty microwave oven, there are always a few simple things one should check. So far, “stop looking at it” has not been part of the checklist.

    • Alexei Ourjoumtsev
    News & Views
  • In drought conditions, forest soils can serve as a small but surprisingly persistent sink for the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide. The effect highlights a research avenue necessary for predicting Earth's climate.

    • Sharon A. Billings
    News & Views
  • Daily remodelling of histone proteins underlies interactions between circadian clock genes and metabolic genes. This regulatory mechanism could be widespread, affecting other physiological processes.

    • Fred W. Turek
    News & Views
  • The spliceosome is best known for shepherding primary messenger RNA transcripts to maturity. This enzyme complex also contributes to the synthesis of an enzyme that maintains chromosome ends.

    • Sophie Bonnal
    • Juan Valcárcel
    News & Views
  • Some transition-metal catalysts control organic reactions so that, given a choice of two mirror-image products, only one forms. The metal atom in these catalysts has been ignored as a source of control — until now.

    • Steven T. Diver
    News & Views
  • Some alcohols can't be made in a way that controls the crucial arrangement of chemical groups in the molecule. A reaction that uses common laboratory reagents offers a practical route to these compounds.

    • Karl B. Hansen
    News & Views
  • Certain microorganisms from the domain Archaea seem to be big players in the marine carbon and nitrogen cycles. A study linking their abundance in the deep sea to their likely metabolic profile refines this view.

    • Christa Schleper
    News & Views