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Volume 509 Issue 7502, 29 May 2014


World View

  • World View |

    A plan for improved environmental protection is a good first step, but all levels of society will need to work together for it to succeed, says Hong Yang.

    • Hong Yang

Research Highlights

Seven Days

  • Seven Days |

    The week in science: Germany announces research windfall; new crater is spotted on Mars; and Pfizer admits defeat in its pursuit of AstraZeneca.



News Feature


Books & Arts

  • Books & Arts |

    Francis Halzen is exhilarated by an account of the hunt for the particles of dark matter.

    • Francis Halzen
  • Books & Arts |

    US astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of New York's Hayden Planetarium, currently hosts the television series Cosmos — an update of Carl Sagan's 1980 show — broadcast in 181 countries and 45 languages. As it winds down, Tyson talks about the rich mix of science and pop culture, the 'neurosynaptic snapshot' of public responses to his tweets, and his momentous meeting with Sagan.

    • Ron Cowen



News & Views

  • News & Views |

    The finding that semi-arid ecosystems in the Southern Hemisphere may be largely responsible for changes in global concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide has repercussions for future levels of this greenhouse gas. See Letter p.600

    • Daniel B. Metcalfe
  • News & Views |

    Despite identifying abundant genes capable of conferring antibiotic resistance in soil microorganisms, a study finds that few are shared by human pathogens and that there is little transfer of the genes within the soil communities. See Letter p.612

    • Morten O. A. Sommer
  • News & Views |

    Cables and wires are used to conduct electricity, but can they also store energy? The answer is a resounding 'yes', if they are encased by a supercapacitor device — a finding that might open up many applications.

    • Yury Gogotsi
  • News & Views |

    Sex determination in the silkworm Bombyx mori has been found to depend on the presence or absence of a small RNA. This is thought to be the first example of a molecule other than a protein mediating this process. See Letter p.633

    • František Marec
  • News & Views |

    A record measurement of the proton's magnetism has been achieved by confining a single proton in a device called a double Penning trap. The result opens the way to exploring one of nature's fundamental symmetries. See Letter p.596

    • V. Alan Kostelecký
  • News & Views |

    Exposure to atmospheric oxygen in the days after a mammal's birth causes its heart muscle cells to stop proliferating. The finding may explain why zebrafish, which live in a hypoxic environment, can regenerate their hearts as adults.

    • Katherine E. Yutzey
  • News & Views |

    Tracking B cells in germinal centres — hotspots of B-cell proliferation and mutation during an immune response — reveals that those cells presenting the most antigen on their surface are programmed to dominate. See Letter p.637

    • David M. Tarlinton



  • Article |

    A draft map of the human proteome is presented here, accounting for over 80% of the annotated protein-coding genes in humans; some novel protein-coding regions, including translated pseudogenes, non-coding RNAs and upstream open reading frames, are identified.

    • Min-Sik Kim
    • Sneha M. Pinto
    • Akhilesh Pandey
  • Article |

    A mass-spectrometry-based draft of the human proteome and a public database for analysis of proteome data are presented; assembled information is used to estimate the size of the protein-coding genome, to identify organ-specific proteins, proteins predicting drug resistance or sensitivity, and many translated long intergenic non-coding RNAs, and to reveal conserved control of protein abundance.

    • Mathias Wilhelm
    • Judith Schlegl
    • Bernhard Kuster


  • Letter |

    Analysis of the metallicities of more than 400 stars hosting 600 candidate extrasolar planets shows that the planets can be categorized by size into three populations — terrestrial-like planets, gas dwarf planets with rocky cores and hydrogen–helium envelopes, and ice or gas giant planets — on the basis of host star metallicity.

    • Lars A. Buchhave
    • Martin Bizzarro
    • Geoffrey W. Marcy
  • Letter |

    Concurrent observations at multiple locations indicate that storm-generated ocean waves propagating through Antarctic sea ice can transport enough energy to break first-year sea ice hundreds of kilometres from the ice edge, which is much farther than would be predicted by the commonly assumed exponential wave decay.

    • A. L. Kohout
    • M. J. M. Williams
    • M. H. Meylan
  • Letter |

    A description of the gill skeleton of a very early fossil shark-like fish shows that it bears more resemblance to gill skeletons from bony fishes rather than to those from modern cartilaginous fishes, suggesting that modern sharks are not anatomically primitive, as previously thought.

    • Alan Pradel
    • John G. Maisey
    • Jon Mallatt
  • Letter |

    Functional metagenomic selections for resistance to 18 antibiotics in 18 different soils reveal that bacterial community composition is the primary determinant of soil antibiotic resistance gene content.

    • Kevin J. Forsberg
    • Sanket Patel
    • Gautam Dantas
  • Letter |

    The cellular basis of touch has long been debated, in particular the relationship between sensory neurons and non-neuronal cells; a mouse study uses optogenetics to identify their distinct and collaborative roles, with skin-derived Merkel cells both transducing touch and actively tuning responses of touch-sensitive neurons.

    • Srdjan Maksimovic
    • Masashi Nakatani
    • Ellen A. Lumpkin
  • Letter |

    Activation of Esr1+ neurons of the mouse ventromedial hypothalamus initiates graded social behavioural responses–weak activation triggers close investigation (sniffing) during a social encounter that often leads, with continued stimulation, to mounting behaviours by males towards either gender; mounting behaviour transitions to aggressive attacks with greater stimulation intensity.

    • Hyosang Lee
    • Dong-Wook Kim
    • David J. Anderson
  • Letter |

    It is known that in the silkworm (Bombyx mori), males have two Z sex chromosomes whereas females have Z and W and the W chromosome has a dominant role in female determination; here a single female-specific W-chromosome-derived PIWI-interacting RNA is shown to be the feminizing factor in B. mori.

    • Takashi Kiuchi
    • Hikaru Koga
    • Susumu Katsuma
  • Letter |

    During development of myointimal hyperplasia in human arteries, smooth muscle cells have hyperpolarized mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm), high proliferation and apoptosis resistance; PDK2 is a key regulatory protein whose activation is necessary for myointima formation, and its blockade with dichloroacetate prevents Δψm hyperpolarization, facilitates apoptosis and reduces myointima formation in injured arteries, without preventing vessel re-endothelialization, possibly representing a novel strategy to prevent proliferative vascular diseases.

    • Tobias Deuse
    • Xiaoqin Hua
    • Sonja Schrepfer

Technology Feature

  • Technology Feature |

    The first draft of the complete human proteome has been more than a decade in the making. In the process, the effort has also delivered lessons about technology and biology.

    • Vivien Marx





  • Futures |

    The importance of a good education.

    • William Meikle


  • Outlook |

    • Herb Brody
  • Outlook |

    Despite a huge amount of funding and research, regional and individual differences in cancer trends make it a hard disease to wipe out. By Mike May.

    • Mike May
  • Outlook |

    Tailoring cancer treatment to individual and evolving tumours is the way of the future, but scientists are still hashing out the details.

    • Lauren Gravitz
  • Outlook |

    A subterranean species that seems to be cancer-proof is providing promising clues on how we might prevent the disease in humans.

    • Sarah Deweerdt
  • Outlook |

    Carcinogens are all around us, so scientists are broadening their ideas of environmental risk.

    • Rebecca Kessler
  • Outlook |

    Much of the world is ill-equipped to cope with its rising cancer burden and are pushing prevention and screening.

    • Eric Bender
  • Outlook |

    Genomics can provide powerful tools against cancer — but only once clinical information can be made broadly available, says John Quackenbush.

    • John Quackenbush
  • Outlook |

    Even as cancer therapies improve, basic questions about drug resistance, tumour spread and the role of normal tissue remain unanswered.

    • Katherine Bourzac


  • Collection |

    2014 Research Perspectives of the Max Planck Society

    PROMOTIONAL FEATURE. The success of the Max Planck Society - one of the world's most prestigious basic research organizations - is underpinned by its focus on challenging the scientific status quo. The Research Perspectives series identifies particularly promising fields which are being prioritized by Max Planck for their potential to make an impact in future. From nanorobots to exoplanets, these pages summarize the Society's Research Perspectives for 2014.

  • Nature Outlook |


    Cancer kills millions of people across the globe every year. But the development of targeted medicines, novel drug delivery technologies and clinical research data offer a glimpse towards a cancer-free future. This Outlook — a joint publication by NatureandScientific American— examines the scientific advances that are needed to propel us into a world where this ancient scourge loses its lethality.

Nature Briefing

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