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Volume 500 Issue 7462, 15 August 2013


  • Editorial |

    Turkey’s scientists show they no longer want to expend their energy on political confrontation, but political volatility is threatening their efforts to work in peace.

  • Editorial |

    Conflicts of interest and gaps in data contaminate US oversight of food additives.

World View

  • World View |

    The increasing dominance of quantitative research assessment threatens the subjective values that really matter in academia, says Colin Macilwain.

    • Colin Macilwain

Research Highlights

Seven Days

  • Seven Days |

    The week in science: Protestors vandalize Philippine GM rice trial, US sets biofuel requirements, and scientists find clues to animal hosts of MERS coronavirus.


News Feature

  • News Feature |

    Elizabeth Loftus has spent decades exposing flaws in eyewitness testimony. Her ideas are gaining fresh traction in the US legal system.

    • Moheb Costandi


  • Comment |

    Reconfiguring protection priorities around global warming could be of limited use or even harmful, say Morgan W. Tingley, Lyndon D. Estes and David S. Wilcove.

    • Morgan W. Tingley
    • Lyndon D. Estes
    • David S. Wilcove

Books & Arts

  • Books & Arts |

    Jon Christensen unpacks the fraught story of a biologist, an economist, and the polarization of US environmental policy.

    • Jon Christensen
  • Books & Arts |

    Medic-turned-artist Mark Kessell creates prints evoking evolution and human development using the early photographic form of the daguerreotype. As his latest show opens in New York, he talks about shooting portraits of primates, forceps, the nearly dead and the newly born.

    • Jascha Hoffman


News & Views

  • News & Views |

    Glass has been prepared that selectively absorbs visible and near-infrared light when an electrochemical voltage is applied. This opens the way to 'smart' windows that block heat on demand, with or without optical transparency. See Letter p.323

    • Brian A. Korgel
  • News & Views |

    A crystal structure of two bound RNA molecules not only provides insight into how regulatory riboswitch sequences affect messenger RNA expression, but also expands our understanding of RNA structure and architecture. See Letter p.363

    • Bhaskar Chetnani
    • Alfonso Mondragón
  • News & Views |

    Gene therapy is finally getting a bumper crop of data that show clinical efficacy after fine-tuning of key parameters that control safety and potency. Supporting evidence comes from treatment of two life-threatening human diseases.

    • Philippe Leboulch
  • News & Views |

    Two complementary experiments have demonstrated deterministic quantum teleportation of quantum bits. The results could find applications in quantum communications and computing. See Letters p.315 & p.319

    • Timothy C. Ralph
  • News & Views |

    The phenomenon of catabolite repression enables microorganisms to use their favourite carbon source first. New work reveals α-ketoacids as key effectors of this process, with their levels regulating gene expression. See Article p.301

    • Joshua D. Rabinowitz
    • Thomas J. Silhavy
  • News & Views |

    The finding that bacteria use a sharp spike to deliver toxins into competing microorganisms, and that this mechanism co-evolved with a bacteriophage structure, presents a new vision of bacterial secretion systems. See Letter p.350

    • Alain Filloux


  • Perspective |

    The effects of climate extremes such as droughts or storms on the carbon cycle of ecosystems are investigated; such extremes can decrease regional carbon stocks.

    • Markus Reichstein
    • Michael Bahn
    • Martin Wattenbach


  • Article |

    This study uses zinc-finger nucleases to target an inducible XIST transgene into chromosome 21 from trisomic Down’s syndrome pluripotent stem cells; the XIST RNA coats one copy of chromosome 21 and triggers whole chromosome silencing, suggesting the potential of this approach for studying chromosomal disorders such as Down’s syndrome and for research into gene therapies.

    • Jun Jiang
    • Yuanchun Jing
    • Jeanne B. Lawrence
  • Article |

    Cyclic AMP, one of the earliest discovered and most intensely studied signalling molecules in molecular biology, is widely believed to signal the carbon status in mediating catabolite repression in bacteria; here a quantitative approach reveals a much broader physiological role for cAMP signalling, whereby it coordinates the allocation of proteomic resources with the global metabolic needs of the cell, including, for example, nitrogen or sulphur.

    • Conghui You
    • Hiroyuki Okano
    • Terence Hwa
  • Article |

    Three structures of the eukaryotic small ribosomal subunit in complex with initiator tRNA, mRNA and the initiation factors eIF1 and eIF1A have been solved; these structures offer insight into the contributions of the initiation factors, the mechanism by which mRNA is scanned, and the interactions that occur in the ribosome’s P site.

    • Ivan B. Lomakin
    • Thomas A. Steitz


  • Letter |

    The X-ray spectrum of the soft-γ-ray repeater SGR 0418+5729 is found to exhibit an absorption line, the properties of which depend strongly on the star’s rotational phase; this line is interpreted as a proton cyclotron feature and its energy implies a magnetic field ranging from 2 × 1014 gauss to more than 1015 gauss.

    • Andrea Tiengo
    • Paolo Esposito
    • Giovanni F. Bignami
  • Letter |

    The continuous-variable teleportation of a discrete-variable, photonic qubit is deterministic and allows for faithful qubit transfer even with imperfect continuous-variable entangled states: for four qubits, the overall transfer fidelities all exceed the classical limit of teleportation.

    • Shuntaro Takeda
    • Takahiro Mizuta
    • Akira Furusawa
  • Letter |

    Although fluctuations in annual temperature have shown substantial geographical variation over the past few decades, which may be more difficult for society to adapt to than altered mean conditions, the time-evolving standard deviation of globally averaged temperature anomalies reveals that there has been little change.

    • Chris Huntingford
    • Philip D. Jones
    • Peter M. Cox
  • Letter | | Open Access

    The genome sequence of the African oil palm, the main source of oil production, is used to predict at least 34,802 genes, including oil biosynthesis genes; comparison with the draft sequence of the South American oil palm reveals that the two species may have diverged in the New World and that segmental duplications of chromosome arms define the palaeotetraploid origin of palm trees.

    • Rajinder Singh
    • Meilina Ong-Abdullah
    • Ravigadevi Sambanthamurthi
  • Letter |

    Genetic mapping and whole-genome sequencing studies identify the SHELL gene (a homologue of Arabidopsis SEEDSTICK) as responsible for the three different fruit forms in oil palm (Elaeis guineesis); this has important economic implications for modulating SHELL activity to breed desired fruit forms and enhance oil yields.

    • Rajinder Singh
    • Eng-Ti Leslie Low
    • Robert A. Martienssen
  • Letter |

    An X-ray structure of bacterial type VI secretion system components reveals that PAAR family proteins bind at the tip of the VgrG spike, providing new insights into the mechanisms of type VI secretion; experiments using bacteria confirmed the importance of PAAR proteins.

    • Mikhail M. Shneider
    • Sergey A. Buth
    • Petr G. Leiman
  • Letter |

    The Drosophila tumour suppressors Scribbled and Discs large 1 are found to be essential regulators of planar spindle alignment during epithelial cell division; aberrant effects of spindle alignment are shown to be corrected through apoptosis, and the suppression of this mechanism can result in epithelial dysplasia and tumorigenesis.

    • Yu-ichiro Nakajima
    • Emily J. Meyer
    • Matthew C. Gibson
  • Letter |

    The co-crystal structure of the T-box tRNA-binding region, stem I, bound to tRNA is solved, showing that this region not only binds the anticodon, but also cradles the entire tRNA, forming an extended interface; the two T-loop motifs of stem I mediate interactions similar to those of RNase P and the large ribosomal subunit, even though the three species do not share a common evolutionary ancestor.

    • Jinwei Zhang
    • Adrian R. Ferré-D’Amaré


  • Feature |

    In a tough job market, immunologists are in demand. To move from academia to a biotechnology or drug company, researchers must explore the options and stay flexible.

    • Alla Katsnelson


  • Column |

    It is not easy to let go of a scientific identity after leaving the lab — nor is it necessary, says Chandrika Nair.

    • Chandrika Nair

Career Brief

  • Career Brief |

    Researchers tend to share data on request rather than through repositories.

  • Career Brief |

    Faculty members are paying more for health-care coverage in 2013.



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