Volume 400 Issue 6744, 5 August 1999

Opinion

  • Opinion |

    Evidence is emerging that carbon emissions may have started to fall, in advance of ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. If so, containing global warming may turn out to be less painful than has sometimes been supposed.

  • Opinion |

    Britain's BSE inquiry is providing a valuable lesson in the relationship between science and public policy.

News

  • News |

    london

    France has controversially agreed to help pay for the construction and operation of a new synchrotron radiation facility in Britain, rather than build one on French soil.

    • David Dickson
    •  & Natasha Loder
  • News |

    london

    A UK group has been set up to raise funds to restore the neglected grave of Alfred Russel Wallace, who discovered natural evolution independently of Charles Darwin.

    • Natasha Loder
  • News |

    washington

    US science lobbyists face a tough battle to restore research funding at the space agency NASA and the National Science Foundation in the face of Congressional efforts to impose cuts.

    • Colin Macilwain
  • News |

    london

    Scientists advising the British government on the outbreak of the BSE epidemic in the late 1980s claim that they came under pressure from government officials to endorse a statement on the safety of beef.

    • Natasha Loder
  • News |

    munich

    Member states of the United Nations have been asked to take steps to increase awareness of space activities and their potential impact on science and on the economic development of both rich and poor nations.

    • Eva von Schaper
  • News |

    tokyo

    The Asia Pacific International Molecular Biology Network last week endorsed the proposal for a global repository of biomedical literature,'E-Biomed', but said that it was important that contributions are peer reviewed.

    • Asako Saegusa
  • News |

    BAR HARBOR, MAINE

    Harold Varmus, the director of the National Institutes of Health, said last week that it was time to re-examine the structure of the agency and discuss how it might be remodelled.

    • Carina Dennis
  • News |

    washington

    A report suggests that the US National Science Foundation should increase its annual spending on environmental research from $600 million this year to $1.6 billion in five years time.

    • Colin Macilwain
  • News |

    washington

    A panel of the US National Academy of Sciences has recommended that the US government should resume developing methods to measure the nation's ‘green’ gross domestic product.

    • Tony Reichhardt
  • News |

    washington

    After receiving critical comments from the Catholic church, the American Cancer Society has withdrawn from a coalition lobbying Congress to support embryo stem-cell research.

    • Meredith Wadman
  • News |

    washington

    Global carbon emissions declined last year while economic productivity increased, suggesting that cutting greenhouse gas emissions may not necessarily hurt the bottom line.

    • Tony Reichhardt
  • News |

    london

    African countries are to be asked to introduce legislation making it illegal for a country to export genetically modified food without first seeking permission from the importing country.

    • Ehsan Masood

News in Brief

Correspondence

Commentary

  • Commentary |

    The relationship between the scientific community and the general public has never been worse in living memory. The commercialization of research is largely responsible, but scientists can still act on the problem.

    • Benny Haerlin
    •  & Doug Parr

News & Views

  • News & Views |

    A laboratory strain of pest that is resistant to a bacterial toxin engineered into cotton takes longer to develop than the non-resistant form. The implication of these new ecological research results is that the ‘refuge strategy’ of reducing the emergence of resistance to genetically modified crops may be flawed. But what, more broadly, are the scientific questions about GM crops that ecologists are attempting to tackle?

    • M. J. Crawley
  • News & Views |

    We owe our oxygen-rich atmosphere to the photosynthetic activity of ancient bacteria. Chemical traces found in rocks have pushed back the origins of this process to 2.5 billion years ago.

    • D. E. Canfield
  • News & Views |

    The transfer of energy from one molecule to another is as important to photosynthesis as to lasers. Microcavities and photonic band gap materials have been successfully used to control spontaneous emission of light. Now, experiments with a polymer microcavity hint that the energy-transfer process may be controlled in a similar way.

    • William L. Barnes
    •  & Piers Andrew
  • News & Views |

    Last year the sequence of chromosome 2 fromPlasmodium falciparum — the agent that causes malaria — was announced. Now, hot on its heels, comes the sequence of chromosome 3. Each chromosome is equivalent in size to an entire bacterial genome, and, although we still know only 7% of the total P. falciparum sequence, by comparing the two chromosomes we can learn much about how P. falciparumoutwits the immune system.

    • Mats Wahlgren
    •  & Maria Teresa Bejarano
  • News & Views |

    Examples from the living world that have analogues in engineering design are ball-and-socket joints, aerodynamic forms and laminated materials. What inspiration the natural world might have to offer the engineer came under consideration at a stimulating meeting held in Berlin in June

    • Philip Ball
  • News & Views |

    Analyses of lake sediments and tree rings are just two of the ways to obtain proxy records of what the Earth was like in previous eras. But these records are essentially local in coverage, and they need to be extended to regional or global scales. New research indicates that such information may come from analysing the abundance of stable isotopes of oxygen from air trapped in ice cores.

    • Joe Berry
  • News & Views |

    Examples from the living world that have analogues in engineering design are ball-and-socket joints, aerodynamic forms and laminated materials. What inspiration the natural world might have to offer the engineer came under consideration at a stimulating meeting held in Berlin in June.

    • Bernt-Erik Sæther
  • News & Views |

    A long debate has centred on what nutrient in the oceans is the main limitation on phytoplankton growth. Is one nutrient clearly more important than others, and, if so, on what timescales? The answer to emerge from newly published model calculations is that, over long periods, phosphorus, in the form of dissolved phosphate, is the ‘ultimate limiting nutrient’.

    • J. R. Toggweiler
  • News & Views |

    Superfluidity is a characteristic of helium at low temperatures. When high pressures are used to produce solid helium, the mobility of atoms is found to be higher in the solid than in the melt. This superdiffusion occurs at the same temperature at which solid helium changes crystal structure and is linked to a reduction in shear resistance at this phase transformation.

    • Robert W. Cahn

Erratum

News & Views

  • News & Views |

    When it comes to flight, birds and insects have a distinct advantage over planes — they can flap their wings. Daedalus plans to redress the balance by covering a conventional wing with a flexible, elastic fabric that could be flapped by a system of repeated inflation and deflation. Indeed, he even thinks that he can go one better than this, and flap the airflow around the wing.

    • David Jones

Millennium Essay

  • Millennium Essay |

    The idea that viruses might cause tumours inadvertently led to the discovery of cellular growth genes that can promote cancer formation — but usually in the absence of viruses. This success rapidly outgrew the original idea.

    • George Klein

Scientific Correspondence

Book Review

Article

Letter

New on the Market

  • New on the Market |

    Cell and tissue culture are the focus in this week's New on the Market, including serum-free media and see-through culture plates. Compiled in the Nature office from information provided by the manufacturers.

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