Volume 495 Issue 7439, 7 March 2013

Science remains institutionally sexist. Despite some progress, women scientists are still paid less, promoted less, win fewer grants and are more likely to leave research than similarly qualified men. In this special issue, Nature takes a hard look at this gender gap and at what is being done to close it. This issue is dedicated to the memory of Maxine Clarke. In the 28 years Maxine spent championing the highest scientific standards as an editor at Nature, she was all too often the only one to ask, "Where are the women?" Cover: Viktor Koen

This Week

News In Focus




    News & Views

  • News & Views |

    A bacterial enzyme that uses guide RNA molecules to target DNA for cleavage has been adopted as a programmable tool to site-specifically modify genomes of cells and organisms, from bacteria and human cells to whole zebrafish.

    • Emmanuelle Charpentier
    •  & Jennifer A. Doudna


  • News & Views |

    By having a highly accurate value for the distance to the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy, astronomers can get a better measure of cosmic 'dark energy'. Using binary stars, they have now achieved a value accurate to 2.2%. See Letter p.76

    • Bradley E. Schaefer
  • News & Views |

    A long-standing ambiguity has been whether quiescent cells located in intestinal crypt structures are stem cells. The answer seems to be yes and no, depending on how one defines the term stem cell. See Article p.65

    • Hans Clevers
  • News & Views |

    A ruthenium catalyst has been developed that, at a few parts per million, releases hydrogen gas from methanol, a simple bulk chemical. The advance might allow methanol to be used as a hydrogen source for fuelling vehicles. See Letter p.85

    • Douglas W. Stephan
  • News & Views |

    Exactly when motor-planning neurons function to produce a bird's song is debatable. New data suggest that bursts of activity in these cells mark sudden changes in the commands to the vocal organ. See Article p.59

    • Todd W. Troyer
  • News & Views |

    A bacterium and a fungus both use gene sequences that fail to optimize the production of circadian-clock proteins. Two studies reveal different reasons for the advantages of producing less protein. See Letters p.111 & p.116

    • Jennifer M. Hurley
    •  & Jay C. Dunlap
  • Articles

  • Article |

    The auditory response of song premotor HVC neurons in sleeping birds, and HVC activity in singing birds, is synchronized with particular moments of vocal motor movements as defined by a dynamical systems model of song production; this HVC activity could be used as a ‘forward’ model to predict behaviour and evaluate feedback.

    • Ana Amador
    • , Yonatan Sanz Perl
    • , Gabriel B. Mindlin
    •  & Daniel Margoliash
  • Article |

    A new method to trace the lineage of slow cycling label-retaining cells (LRCs) in vivo identifies a population of LRCs that have features of committed Paneth cells but still express stem-cell markers such as Lgr5; the slow cycling cells differentiate into Paneth cells without cell division, but after injury can also repopulate the stem-cell niche and contribute to the regeneration of all intestinal lineages.

    • Simon J. A. Buczacki
    • , Heather Ireland Zecchini
    • , Anna M. Nicholson
    • , Roslin Russell
    • , Louis Vermeulen
    • , Richard Kemp
    •  & Douglas J. Winton
  • Article |

    The crystal structure of a complete yeast exosome (Exo-10) bound to a region of the Rrp6 nuclease and an RNA substrate is determined, demonstrating that the exosome binds and degrades RNA molecules with a channelling mechanism that is largely conserved in all kingdoms of life and is similar to the mechanism used by the proteasome to degrade polypeptides.

    • Debora Lika Makino
    • , Marc Baumgärtner
    •  & Elena Conti
  • Letters

  • Letter |

    Observations of eight long-period, late-type eclipsing-binary systems composed of cool, giant stars are used to determine a distance to the Large Magellanic Cloud accurate to 2.2 per cent, providing a base for a determination of the Hubble constant to an accuracy of 3 per cent.

    • G. Pietrzyński
    • , D. Graczyk
    • , W. Gieren
    • , I. B. Thompson
    • , B. Pilecki
    • , A. Udalski
    • , I. Soszyński
    • , S. Kozłowski
    • , P. Konorski
    • , K. Suchomska
    • , G. Bono
    • , P. G. Prada Moroni
    • , S. Villanova
    • , N. Nardetto
    • , F. Bresolin
    • , R. P. Kudritzki
    • , J. Storm
    • , A. Gallenne
    • , R. Smolec
    • , D. Minniti
    • , M. Kubiak
    • , M. K. Szymański
    • , R. Poleski
    • , Ł. Wyrzykowski
    • , K. Ulaczyk
    • , P. Pietrukowicz
    • , M. Górski
    •  & P. Karczmarek
  • Letter |

    A series of porous crystalline materials known as metal–organic materials are prepared, and a full sorption study shows that controlled pore size (rather than large surface area) coupled with appropriate chemistry lead to materials exhibiting fast and highly selective CO2 sorption.

    • Patrick Nugent
    • , Youssef Belmabkhout
    • , Stephen D. Burd
    • , Amy J. Cairns
    • , Ryan Luebke
    • , Katherine Forrest
    • , Tony Pham
    • , Shengqian Ma
    • , Brian Space
    • , Lukasz Wojtas
    • , Mohamed Eddaoudi
    •  & Michael J. Zaworotko
  • Letter |

    An efficient, low-temperature, aqueous-phase method of producing hydrogen gas from methanol using ruthenium complexes is described, which could make the transport of hydrogen — and hence its use for clean-energy generation — feasible.

    • Martin Nielsen
    • , Elisabetta Alberico
    • , Wolfgang Baumann
    • , Hans-Joachim Drexler
    • , Henrik Junge
    • , Serafino Gladiali
    •  & Matthias Beller
  • Letter |

    Extensive glaciations, possibly even a globally ice-covered Snowball Earth, took place in the Neoproterozoic era, and here the possible ocean circulation at that time, under a kilometre of ice, is described.

    • Yosef Ashkenazy
    • , Hezi Gildor
    • , Martin Losch
    • , Francis A. Macdonald
    • , Daniel P. Schrag
    •  & Eli Tziperman
  • Letter |

    New strashilid fossils from the Middle Jurassic epoch of Daohugou, China, show that they are highly specialized flies, and suggest that larval abdominal respiratory gills were retained in adult males, indicating that adult strashilids were probably aquatic or amphibious, with mating occurring in water.

    • Diying Huang
    • , André Nel
    • , Chenyang Cai
    • , Qibin Lin
    •  & Michael S. Engel
  • Letter |

    NFIB, a transcription factor expressed by epithelial hair follicle stem cells, is shown to coordinate the synchronous maturation of hair follicle stem cells and melanocyte stem cells, thus controlling hair regeneration and pigmentation.

    • Chiung-Ying Chang
    • , H. Amalia Pasolli
    • , Eugenia G. Giannopoulou
    • , Géraldine Guasch
    • , Richard M. Gronostajski
    • , Olivier Elemento
    •  & Elaine Fuchs
  • Letter |

    A post-transcriptional switch that controls spatiotemporal and mutually exclusive expression of two alternative gene products from a single transcript is reported; these gene products—miR-198 and FSTL1—are found to have opposing functions on keratinocyte migration and wound healing.

    • Gopinath M. Sundaram
    • , John E. A. Common
    • , Felicia E. Gopal
    • , Satyanarayana Srikanta
    • , Krishnaswamy Lakshman
    • , Declan P. Lunny
    • , Thiam C. Lim
    • , Vivek Tanavde
    • , E. Birgitte Lane
    •  & Prabha Sampath
  • Letter |

    A role is demonstrated for miR-34a, a microRNA that is upregulated in the ageing heart; miR-34a downregulates PNUTS, a protein that protects cardiomyocytes and telomeres, silencing of miR-34a is therefore a promising therapeutic target.

    • Reinier A. Boon
    • , Kazuma Iekushi
    • , Stefanie Lechner
    • , Timon Seeger
    • , Ariane Fischer
    • , Susanne Heydt
    • , David Kaluza
    • , Karine Tréguer
    • , Guillaume Carmona
    • , Angelika Bonauer
    • , Anton J. G. Horrevoets
    • , Nathalie Didier
    • , Zenawit Girmatsion
    • , Peter Biliczki
    • , Joachim R. Ehrlich
    • , Hugo A. Katus
    • , Oliver J. Müller
    • , Michael Potente
    • , Andreas M. Zeiher
    • , Heiko Hermeking
    •  & Stefanie Dimmeler
  • Letter |

    The frq gene, essential for circadian clock function, is shown to differ from most other genes in Neurospora by exhibiting non-optimal codon usage; by contrast, optimization of codon usage is unexpectedly found to affect the structure and function of the coded protein, subsequently impairing circadian feedback loops.

    • Mian Zhou
    • , Jinhu Guo
    • , Joonseok Cha
    • , Michael Chae
    • , She Chen
    • , Jose M. Barral
    • , Matthew S. Sachs
    •  & Yi Liu
  • Letter |

    CPEB1 is known to regulate cytoplasmic polyadenylation, and is now shown to have a second function in the nucleus; it associates with the cleavage and polyadenylation machinery, thereby promoting usage of an upstream poly(A) signal in many messenger RNAs, and affecting alternative splicing.

    • Felice-Alessio Bava
    • , Carolina Eliscovich
    • , Pedro G. Ferreira
    • , Belen Miñana
    • , Claudia Ben-Dov
    • , Roderic Guigó
    • , Juan Valcárcel
    •  & Raúl Méndez


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