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Volume 467 Issue 7317, 14 October 2010

A language-based phylogeny of Austronesian societies has been used to test competing models of how complex societies rise and fall. The findings suggest that whereas increases in complexity tend to be stepwise, large decreases may be possible. On the cover, a 1776 oil painting titled Review of the War Galleys at Tahiti by artist William Hodges, who travelled with explorer James Cook on his second voyage to the Pacific Ocean. Credit: National Maritime Museum/Ministry of Defence Art Collection.

Editorial

  • If the US midterm elections are to kickstart progress in Congress on urgent issues such as climate and basic research, the mudslinging and mayhem have got to stop.

    Editorial

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  • Local action can curb habitat loss and counter global pessimism on biodiversity.

    Editorial
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World View

  • Freely provided working code — whatever its quality — improves programming and enables others to engage with your research, says Nick Barnes.

    • Nick Barnes
    World View
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Research Highlights

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Seven Days

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News

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News Feature

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Comment

  • Fundamental research must not be hampered by an international agreement on sharing the benefits from national biodiversity, says David Schindel.

    • David E. Schindel
    Comment
  • Daniel S. Greenberg sets out five things that the White House and Capitol Hill can and should accomplish between now and the 2012 election.

    • Daniel S. Greenberg
    Comment
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Correction

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Books & Arts

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Correspondence

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Obituary

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News & Views

  • Astronomers would be expected to recognize comets easily when they see them, not least because of the objects' bright tails. But when planetary accidents try to fool them, their job is no longer that simple. See Letters p.814 & p.817

    • David Nesvorný
    News & Views
  • The T-cell receptor on the surface of T cells requires antigen recognition to function. Structural studies reveal that its predecessor, the pre-T-cell receptor, is much more independent. See Letter p.844

    • Bernard Malissen
    • Hervé Luche
    News & Views
  • Reliable forecasts of sea-level rise depend on accurately modelling the dynamics of polar ice sheets. A numerical framework that better reflects ice-sheet basal drag adds greater realism to such models.

    • Fabien Gillet-Chaulet
    • Gaël Durand
    News & Views
  • In certain types of gastrointestinal cell, mutations in the protein KIT give rise to gastrointestinal stromal tumours. Why are other cell types that express KIT not affected? The answer lies with a second protein. See Letter p.849

    • Michael C. Heinrich
    • Christopher L . Corless
    News & Views
  • Organic aerosol particles are ubiquitous in the atmosphere. In forests, such particles can occur in solid form — a finding that will lead to a re-evaluation of how they are formed, and their properties and effects. See Letter p.824

    • Paul J. Ziemann
    News & Views
  • Phylogenetic methods of evolutionary biology can be used to study socio-political variation mapped onto linguistic trees. The range of political complexities in Austronesian societies offers a good test case. See Article p.801

    • Jared Diamond
    News & Views
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Correction

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Article

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Letter

  • Galaxies in the early Universe might grow through the accretion of cold, primordial, low-metallicity gas. If such gas is funnelled to the centre of a galaxy, it will result in the central region having an overall lower metallicity than outer regions. These authors report such 'inverse' metallicity gradients in three rotationally supported, star-forming galaxies at redshift 3, and conclude that the central gas has been diluted by the accretion of primordial gas.

    • G. Cresci
    • F. Mannucci
    • L. Magrini
    Letter
  • The peculiar object P/2010 A2, discovered in January 2010, is in an asteroidal orbit in the inner main asteroid belt and was given a cometary designation because of the presence of a trail of material. These authors report observations of P/2010 A2 by the Rosetta spacecraft. They conclude that the trail arose from a single event, an asteroid collision that occurred around 10 February 2009.

    • Colin Snodgrass
    • Cecilia Tubiana
    • K.P. Wenzel
    Letter
  • Asteroidal disruption, through high-velocity collisions or rotational spin-up, is believed to be the primary mechanism for the production and destruction of small asteroids. These authors report observations of P/2010 A2 — a previously unknown inner-belt asteroid with a peculiar, comet-like morphology — that reveal an approximately 120-metre-diameter nucleus with an associated tail of millimetre-sized dust particles. They conclude that it is most probably the evolving remnant of a recent asteroidal disruption in February/March 2009.

    • David Jewitt
    • Harold Weaver
    • Michal Drahus
    Letter
  • Laser cooling has not yet been extended to molecules because of their complex internal structure. At present, the only technique for producing ultracold molecules is to bind ultracold alkali atoms to produce bialkali molecules. These authors experimentally demonstrate laser cooling of the polar molecule strontium monofluoride, reaching temperatures of a few millikelvin or less. The technique should allow the production of molecules at microkelvin temperatures for species that are chemically distinct from bialkalis.

    • E. S. Shuman
    • J. F. Barry
    • D. DeMille
    Letter
  • Secondary organic aerosol (SOA) particles can scatter radiation and act as cloud condensation nuclei, and thereby influence the Earth's radiation balance. It is generally assumed that SOA particles are liquid, but these authors show that they can adopt an amorphous solid state under ambient conditions. The findings challenge traditional views of the kinetics and thermodynamics of SOA formation and transformation in the atmosphere.

    • Annele Virtanen
    • Jorma Joutsensaari
    • Ari Laaksonen
    Letter
  • These authors test whether patterns of seismicity and the stabilities of potentially relevant hydrous phases are consistent with a wet lithosphere. They show that there is nearly a one-to-one correlation between the dehydration of minerals and seismicity at depths less than 250 km, but no correlation at greater depths. They conclude that subducting slabs must be essentially dry by 400-km depth and thus do not provide a pathway for significant amounts of water to enter the mantle transition zone or the lower mantle.

    • Harry W. Green II
    • Wang-Ping Chen
    • Michael R. Brudzinski
    Letter
  • This very large genome-wide association study identifies hundreds of new genetic variants influencing adult height in at least 180 loci enriched for genes involved in skeletal growth defects. The results show that the likely causal gene is often located near the most strongly associated variant, that many loci have multiple independently associated variants and that associated variants are enriched for likely functional effects on genes.

    • Hana Lango Allen
    • Karol Estrada
    • Joel N. Hirschhorn
    Letter
  • To facilitate their proper segregation, duplicated meiotic chromosomes are physically joined by crossovers. Crossover formation begins with the introduction of meiosis-specific double-strand breaks. These authors identify a new gene in Caenorhabditis elegans, xnd-1, that is required for crossover distribution on both the X and the autosomal chromosomes. Preliminary data suggest that xnd-1 does this by regulating acetylation of histone H2A on lysine 5.

    • Cynthia R. Wagner
    • Lynnette Kuervers
    • Judith L. Yanowitz
    Letter
  • The pre-T-cell antigen receptor mediates early T-cell development and differentiation. These authors report its structure and explain how the head-to-tail dimeric arrangement allows the interaction of the pre-Tα domain with any variable β domain, and provides the basis for ligand-independent signalling.

    • Siew Siew Pang
    • Richard Berry
    • Jamie Rossjohn
    Letter
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST) are believed to arise in interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC). These authors show that the transcription factor ETV1 is required for ICC development and promotes the development of GIST. KIT, which is often activated by mutations in GIST, cooperates with ETV1 in the transformation of ICCs, in part by promoting ETV1 stabilization. Thus, a normal developmental lineage factor is switched into a tumour-promoting factor by a cooperating oncogene.

    • Ping Chi
    • Yu Chen
    • Charles L. Sawyers
    Letter
  • During infection, Bacillus anthracis secretes two potent toxins called lethal factor and oedema factor. Using Drosophila melanogaster as a model system, these authors show that these toxins interact with the Rab11/Sec15 exocyst, which is involved in endocytic recycling. This interaction may explain vascular leakage during infection.

    • Annabel Guichard
    • Shauna M. McGillivray
    • Ethan Bier
    Letter
  • Entry of herpes simplex virus-1 into cells requires cellular receptors for both envelope glycoprotein B and envelope glycoprotein D. These authors show that the interaction of non-muscle myosin heavy chain IIA with envelope glycoprotein B is important for entry of herpes simplex virus-1.

    • Jun Arii
    • Hideo Goto
    • Yasushi Kawaguchi
    Letter
  • Apoptotic cells discharge ATP and UTP, which act as 'find-me' signals for phagocytes that in turn engulf dying cells before potentially harmful cellular contents are released. These authors show that the release of ATP and UTP is exclusively by means of the plasma membrane channel pannexin 1, which is opened specifically by caspase activity.

    • Faraaz B. Chekeni
    • Michael R. Elliott
    • Kodi S. Ravichandran
    Letter
  • The proteasome is a multi-protein complex that enzymatically degrades proteins. Proteolysis occurs in a barrel-shaped 20S core particle comprising three interconnected cavities, including a pair of antechambers in which substrates are held before degradation. These authors demonstrate that substrates interact actively with the antechamber walls and that the environment in this compartment is optimized to maintain the substrates in unfolded states so as to be accessible for hydrolysis.

    • Amy M. Ruschak
    • Tomasz L. Religa
    • Lewis E. Kay
    Letter
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Retraction

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Feature

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Column

  • Embracing the unknowns of scientific research is easier when your job has certainty, says Claire Thompson.

    • Claire Thompson
    Column
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By the Numbers

  • Biotechnology, space science and nanotechnology play key parts in Belgium's science agenda.

    • Katharine Sanderson
    By the Numbers
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Q&A

  • Belgium offers numerous opportunities for foreign researchers.

    • Katharine Sanderson
    Q&A
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Futures

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Outlook

  • Arno Penzias, Robert W. Wilson and Pyotr L. Kapitsa won the Nobel Prize in Physics 1978. Penzias and Wilson's share was for discovering the existence of cosmic background radiation.

    • Arno Allan Penzias
    Outlook
  • The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1974 was awarded to Christian de Duve, Albert Claude and George E. Palade for their discoveries concerning the organization of the cell.

    • Christian de Duve
    Outlook
  • The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2007 was won by Mario R. Capecchi, Martin J. Evans and Oliver Smithies for discoveries that led to the development of knockout mice.

    • Oliver Smithies
    Outlook
  • Together with mentor Martinus J.G. Veltman, Gerardus 't Hooft's Nobel Prize in Physics 1999 was won for elucidating the quantum structure of electroweak interactions in atoms.

    • Gerardus 't Hooft
    Outlook
  • The Nobel Prize in Physics in 2004 was awarded to David J. Gross, H. David Politzer and Frank Wilczek for their discovery of how quarks interact within protons.

    • David J. Gross
    Outlook
  • John Mather and George Smoot's discovery of the anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation won the Nobel Prize in Physics 2006.

    • John C. Mather
    Outlook
  • Paul J. Crutzen shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1995 with Mario J. Molina and F. Sherwood Rowland for their work on formation and decomposition of ozone.

    • Paul J. Crutzen
    Outlook
  • Peter Agre shared theNobel Prize in Chemistry 2003 with Roderick MacKinnon. Agre's half was awarded for his discovery of a water channel protein in cell membranes.

    • Peter Agre
    Outlook
  • John Mather and George Smoot won the Nobel Prize 2006 in Physics for their work on cosmic background radiation. Smoot measured the temperature variation (anisotropy).

    • George F. Smoot
    Outlook
  • Harold Kroto shares the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1996 with Robert F. Curl Jr. and Richard E. Smalley for the discovery of buckminster fullerenes.

    • Harold W. Kroto
    Outlook
  • The annual Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings have evolved over the years, reflecting changes in both science and society.

    • John Galbraith Simmons
    Outlook
  • International meetings and exchanges are creating a universal, globe-spanning culture of science with widespread ramifications.

    • Christopher Mims
    Outlook
  • The goals of science have not changed since the early days of the Lindau meeting, yet the way they are pursued has.

    • Ned Stafford
    Outlook
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Nature Outlook

  • In acknowledgement of the 60th Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates, Naturelooks at the hard work, inspiration and ultimate recognition associated with a life dedicated to scientific enquiry, and how these can be passed to the next generation.

    Nature Outlook
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