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Volume 490 Issue 7420, 18 October 2012

A succession of superpowers once dominated the world of science: France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States have all had their moments. Today, many countries  prominently China, Brazil and South Korea  have an important place in the research hierarchy. Researchers are much more mobile than in the past and can follow funding and facilities around the world, and the development of supranational collaboration networks is changing the role of national governments and funding agencies. This special issue of Nature looks at how the movement of people and ideas is changing how and where science is done, how it is funded and where current trends will lead. Cover: Jasiek Krzysztofiak/Nature.


  • Editorial |

    Restricting access to US death records could have serious consequences for long-term health studies. Government agencies should rethink their decision.

  • Editorial |

    The increasing internationalization of science offers many benefits, but also has limitations.

  • Editorial |

    Charges that the UK badger-shooting policy ignores evidence are wide of the mark.

World View

  • World View |

    Serge Haroche, co-winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics, warns against the growing trend towards short-termism in science funding.

    • Serge Haroche

Research Highlights

Seven Days

  • Seven Days |

    The week in science: Skydiver breaks speed of sound; researcher ID system launches; and the online open-access journal eLife publishes its first papers.



News Feature

  • News Feature |

    The big picture of global migration shows that scientists usually follow the research money — but culture can skew this pattern.

    • Richard Van Noorden


  • Comment |

    New collaboration patterns are changing the global balance of science. Established superpowers need to keep up or be left behind, says Jonathan Adams.

    • Jonathan Adams
  • Comment |

    Subra Suresh sets out the institutional reforms needed for collaborative action among international research-funding agencies to tackle the challenges humanity faces.

    • Subra Suresh

Books & Arts

  • Books & Arts |

    Sandra Knapp considers how the laws of physics influence the function of leaves in myriad ways.

    • Sandra Knapp
  • Books & Arts |

    Josie Glausiusz contemplates a documentary on the human relationship with animals confined and stuffed.

    • Josie Glausiusz


News & Views

  • News & Views |

    The finding that magmatic material from the Moon is more enriched in the heavy isotopes of zinc than its terrestrial and Martian analogues prompts fresh thinking about the origin of our natural satellite. See Letter p.376

    • Tim Elliott
  • News & Views |

    Tumour cells can respond to targeted immune-cell therapies by losing proteins that mark them as being cancerous. Subverting this resistance mechanism may lead to more durable cancer-treatment strategies. See Letter p.412

    • Antoni Ribas
    • Paul C. Tumeh
  • News & Views |

    The structure of a bacterial protein belonging to the 'sugar porter' family guides the building of long-sought molecular models of proteins that transport glucose across cell membranes in humans. See Article p.361

    • Peter J. F. Henderson
    • Stephen A. Baldwin
  • News & Views |

    A genetic analysis of viruses infecting participants in an HIV vaccine trial indicates that the vaccine is more protective against viruses that have variations at specific sites in the viral envelope. See Letter p.417

    • David V. Glidden
  • News & Views |

    A large-scale study sheds light on the extraordinary molecular-recognition skills of the chaperone HSP90, which allow this protein to interact selectively with hundreds of other proteins of diverse function.

    • Rahul S. Samant
    • Paul Workman
  • News & Views |

    A landscape-scale experiment shows that excessive nutrient levels can cause the loss of salt marshes — a result that was not seen in smaller studies. This illustrates the value of large-scale, long-term studies in ecology. See Letter p.388

    • Steven C. Pennings


  • Article |

    The expression of fibroblast growth factor in aged muscle fibre, the muscle stem cell niche, is shown to cause satellite cells to lose the capacity for self-renewal, and is thus an age-dependent change that directly influences stem cell quiescence and function.

    • Joe V. Chakkalakal
    • Kieran M. Jones
    • Andrew S. Brack
  • Article |

    A study of X-ray crystal structures of the Escherichia coli xylose transporter XylE, which is a bacterial homologue of the human glucose transporters GLUT1–4, complexed with glucose and its analogues yields a framework for understanding the molecular mechanism by which membrane proteins transport glucose and other sugars across cell membranes.

    • Linfeng Sun
    • Xin Zeng
    • Nieng Yan
  • Article |

    The X-ray crystal structure of the transporter-binding protein complex BtuCD–F, involved in the uptake of vitamin B12 across the inner membrane of Escherichia coli, is determined in an ATP analogue-bound state; the membrane-spanning BtuC subunits adopt a previously unseen conformation in which the central translocation pathway is sealed by an additional gate, and membrane transport is seen to occur through an unexpected peristaltic transport mechanism, distinct from what has been observed for other ABC transporters.

    • Vladimir M. Korkhov
    • Samantha A. Mireku
    • Kaspar P. Locher


  • Letter |

    Observations of hard X-rays from the remnant of supernova 1987A in the narrow band containing two direct-escape lines of 44Ti at 67.9 and 78.4 keV imply that this radiation had sufficient energy to power the remnant at late times; the initial mass of 44Ti is estimated to be near the upper bound of theoretical predictions.

    • S. A. Grebenev
    • A. A. Lutovinov
    • C. Winkler
  • Letter |

    Lunar magmatic rocks are shown to be enriched in the heavy isotopes of zinc and to have lower zinc concentrations than terrestrial or Martian igneous rocks; these variations represent the large-scale evaporation of zinc, most probably in the aftermath of the Moon-forming giant impact event.

    • Randal C. Paniello
    • James M. D. Day
    • Frédéric Moynier
  • Letter |

    Coupling a superconducting cavity to an indium arsenide double quantum dot with a charge–cavity coupling rate of 30 megahertz shows that long-range spin qubit interactions may be feasible.

    • K. D. Petersson
    • L. W. McFaul
    • J. R. Petta
  • Letter |

    A simple and accessible method of probing the nature of bonding on the very surface of a material is reported, using transmission electron microscopy: the technologically important compound strontium titanate is examined as an example.

    • Guo-zhen Zhu
    • Guillaume Radtke
    • Gianluigi A. Botton
  • Letter |

    A nine-year whole-ecosystem experiment demonstrates that nutrient enrichment, a global problem in coastal ecosystems, can be a driver of salt-marsh loss.

    • Linda A. Deegan
    • David Samuel Johnson
    • Wilfred M. Wollheim
  • Letter |

    In vivo whole-cell recordings combined with an intracellular N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) blocker and membrane hyperpolarization are used to examine the contribution of dendritic NMDAR-dependent regenerative responses to the angular tuning of layer 4 neurons; the results show that active dendritic processing sharpens the sensory responses of cortical neurons in vivo.

    • Maria Lavzin
    • Sophia Rapoport
    • Jackie Schiller
  • Letter |

    The neuropeptide corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) acts in the nucleus accumbens of mice to increase dopamine release through coactivation of CRF receptor 1 (CRFR1) and CRFR2, but exposure to severe stress results in loss of this regulation and a switch in the reaction to CRF from appetitive to aversive.

    • Julia C. Lemos
    • Matthew J. Wanat
    • Paul E. M. Phillips
  • Letter |

    Mouse androgenetic haploid embryonic stem cell lines can be established by transferring sperm into an enucleated oocyte; the cells maintain haploidy and stable growth over 30 passages, express pluripotent markers, are able to differentiate into all three germ layers, contribute to germlines of chimaeras when injected into blastocysts and can produce fertile progeny that carry genetic modifications to the next generation.

    • Wei Li
    • Ling Shuai
    • Qi Zhou
  • Letter |

    A genetically engineered mouse model is used to determine the mechanism of acquired resistance to adoptive therapy with cytotoxic T cells specific for a melanocytic differentiation antigen; tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α is identified as a crucial factor that causes reversible dedifferentiation of mouse and human melanoma cells.

    • Jennifer Landsberg
    • Judith Kohlmeyer
    • Thomas Tüting


  • Feature |

    Entrepreneurship training can open up new avenues for scientists. And it doesn't take a business degree.

    • Neil Savage


  • Q&A |

    A neuroscientist's fishy discovery earns him an Ig Nobel Prize and helps to improve data interpretation.

    • Virginia Gewin


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