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Volume 511 Issue 7508, 10 July 2014

The fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or Bd, has been implicated in the declines of many amphibian species worldwide. There has been little evidence that amphibians can acquire resistance to this pathogen, but now Jason Rohr and colleagues present experiments on several amphibian species, including the Cuban tree frog Osteopilus septentrionalis, shown here, that demonstrate that frogs can learn to avoid the pathogen, can overcome Bd-induced immunosuppression after repeated exposure, and can be immunized against it using dead pathogen. Conservation projects have removed threatened amphibian species from Bd-positive habitats and are breeding them in captivity. Using vaccines to induce resistance in captive-bred amphibians prior to a return to the wild could make it possible in the future to repopulate areas that have seen catastrophic declines. Cover photo: Joseph Gamble


  • Editorial |

    The criticism of Europe’s Human Brain Project by leading scientists reflects a messy management structure that is in urgent need of clear direction.

  • Editorial |

    A possible link between neonicotinoid pesticide use and a decline in bird numbers is worrying.

World View

  • World View |

    Papers that plagiarize only text can still contribute to the literature, but any errors or omissions should be prominently corrected, says Praveen Chaddah.

    • Praveen Chaddah

Research Highlights

Seven Days

  • Seven Days |

    The week in science: NASA launches carbon-tracking satellite; European particle accelerators funded; and gloom over Caribbean coral reefs.



News Feature

  • News Feature |

    As a much-hailed breakthrough in stem-cell science unravelled this year, many have been asking: ‘Where were the safeguards?’

    • David Cyranoski
  • News Feature |

    From dogs to balloons, researchers are using unorthodox ways to find out where malaria vectors hide during a long dry season.

    • Emily Sohn


Summer Books

  • Summer Books |

    As the wild blue yonder beckons and labs and classrooms empty, Nature's regular reviewers share their holiday reads.

    • Callum Roberts
    • Ann Finkbeiner
    • Colin Sullivan


News & Views

  • News & Views |

    A model of the transmission and spread of bovine tuberculosis in Britain suggests that controlling the epidemic will require large-scale cattle slaughter or a major rethink of combined control strategies. See Letter p.228

    • Robbie A. McDonald
  • News & Views |

    Materials that rapidly switch between amorphous and crystalline states are widely used to manage heat and store data. They now emerge as promising building blocks for ultrahigh-resolution display devices. See Letter p.206

    • Dirk J. Broer
  • News & Views |

    There are two methods for reprogramming mature cells to pluripotent stem cells, which can give rise to all cells of the body. The first direct comparison of the methods reveals that both can cause subtle molecular defects. See Article p.177

    • Vladislav Krupalnik
    • Jacob H. Hanna
  • News & Views |

    NMDA receptors are crucial in the workings of the brain and in its disorders. Two structures of almost complete receptors reveal the intricate complexity of these large, multi-domain molecular machines. See Article p.191

    • David Stroebel
    • Pierre Paoletti
  • News & Views |

    • Andrew Mitchinson
  • News & Views |

    Lack of dissolved iron in the sea limits biological productivity and the uptake of carbon dioxide. The sources of dissolved iron in the North Atlantic Ocean have been identified from isotopic variations of this trace nutrient. See Letter p.212

    • Joseph A. Resing
    • Pamela M. Barrett
  • News & Views |

    An experiment studying people's willingness to sacrifice personal gains so that resources are passed to future generations shows that this occurs only when extractions by free-riders are curbed by majority rule. See Letter p.220

    • Louis Putterman


Review Article


  • Article |

    Genome-wide analysis of matched human IVF embryonic stem cells (IVF ES cells), induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) and nuclear transfer ES cells (NT ES cells) derived by somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) reveals that human somatic cells can be faithfully reprogrammed to pluripotency by SCNT; NT ES cells and iPS cells derived from the same somatic cells contain comparable numbers of de novo copy number variations, but whereas DNA methylation and transcriptome profiles of NT ES cells and IVF ES cells are similar, iPS cells have residual patterns typical of parental somatic cells.

    • Hong Ma
    • Robert Morey
    • Shoukhrat Mitalipov
  • Article |

    Initial exposure to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induces endotoxin tolerance, which reduces immunological reactions to LPS; here it is shown that primary LPS challenge is controlled by AhR, TDO2 and IL-10, whereas sustained effects require AhR, IDO1 and TGF-β, allowing for disease tolerance with reduced immunopathology in infections.

    • Alban Bessede
    • Marco Gargaro
    • Paolo Puccetti
  • Article |

    X-ray crystal structures are presented of the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, a calcium-permeable ion channel that opens upon binding of glutamate and glycine; glutamate is a key excitatory neurotransmitter and enhanced structural insight of this receptor may aid development of therapeutic small molecules.

    • Chia-Hsueh Lee
    • Wei Lü
    • Eric Gouaux


  • Letter |

    Here stable colour changes induced by solid-state electrical switching of ultrathin films of a germanium–antimony–telluride alloy are demonstrated, adding to its established uses in data storage; possible applications include flexible and transparent displays.

    • Peiman Hosseini
    • C. David Wright
    • Harish Bhaskaran
  • Letter |

    A high-resolution oceanic section of dissolved iron stable isotope ratios reveals that the primary source of dissolved iron to the North Atlantic is atmospheric dust, while seafloor sediments and submarine volcanic vents also contribute significantly.

    • Tim M. Conway
    • Seth G. John
  • Letter |

    An intergenerational cooperation game has been developed to study decision-making regarding resource use: when decisions about resource extraction were made individually the resource was rapidly depleted by a minority of defectors; the resource was sustainably maintained across generations, however, when decisions were made democratically by voting.

    • Oliver P. Hauser
    • David G. Rand
    • Martin A. Nowak
  • Letter |

    The fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis has been implicated in the decline of a large number of amphibian species; here it is shown that frogs can learn to avoid the pathogen, acquire resistance to it and be immunized against it using dead pathogen, findings that potentially offer a way in which resistant populations could be reintroduced into areas that have seen catastrophic declines.

    • Taegan A. McMahon
    • Brittany F. Sears
    • Jason R. Rohr
  • Letter |

    Bovine tuberculosis is a major economic burden on the cattle industry, and attempts to control it have been politically controversial; here farm movement and bovine tuberculosis incidence data are used to construct a mechanistic model and tease apart the factors contributing to epidemic bovine tuberculosis spread.

    • Ellen Brooks-Pollock
    • Gareth O. Roberts
    • Matt J. Keeling
  • Letter |

    The formation of a new species can occur by an asexual mechanism by transfer of entire nuclear genomes between plant cells as shown by the creation of a new allopolyploid plant from parental herbaceous and woody plant species, this mechanism is a potential new tool for crop improvement.

    • Ignacia Fuentes
    • Sandra Stegemann
    • Ralph Bock
  • Letter |

    The molecular relationship between synaptic dysfunction and psychiatric disorders was investigated using a mouse model system; presynaptically localized Cntnap4 is required for the output of two disease-relevant neuronal subpopulations (cortical parvalbumin-positive GABAergic cells and midbrain dopaminergic neurons) and Cntnap4 mutants show behavioural abnormalities which can be pharmacologically reversed.

    • T. Karayannis
    • E. Au
    • G. Fishell
  • Letter |

    Intracranial germ cell tumours are rare tumours affecting mainly male adolescents, mainly in Asia; here the authors identify frequent mutations in the KIT/RAS and AKT/mTOR signalling pathways as well as rare germline variants in JMJD1C, suggesting potential therapeutic strategies focusing on the inhibition of KIT/RAS activation and the AKT1/mTOR pathway.

    • Linghua Wang
    • Shigeru Yamaguchi
    • Ching C. Lau


  • Feature |

    An excess of graduates means that job-seekers need to be versatile.

    • Paul Smaglik


  • Column |

    Graduate students must educate themselves and others about academia's dim job prospects, says Jessica Polka.

    • Jessica Polka


Brief Communications Arising


  • Outlook |

    An estimated 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy. But research funding is low, treatment can fail and the mechanisms of the disease are a mystery. By Neil Savage.

    • Neil Savage
  • Outlook |

    Epilepsy arises from natural mechanisms in the brain that go awry. Researchers are trying to unravel its complexities.

    • Michael Eisenstein
  • Outlook |

    Not enough doctors and patients opt for surgery to treat epilepsy, despite clinical evidence of the benefits, says Samuel Wiebe.

    • Samuel Wiebe
  • Outlook |

    Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders to affect the human brain. Many genetic aspects of the disease have been identified, but mechanisms remains elusive.

    • Charvy Narain
  • Outlook |

    Plagued by a history of fear and stigma, epilepsy has languished when it comes to research funding.

    • Lauren Gravitz
  • Outlook |

    The development of effective antiepilepsy drugs is moving on from trial-and-error approaches to sophisticated molecular solutions.

    • Megan Cully
  • Outlook |

    For children with epilepsy whose condition is resistant to medication, a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet may help bring their seizures under control.

    • Rachel Brazil
  • Outlook |

    Wearable devices that monitor seizures promise improvements in epilepsy treatments and research.

    • Elie Dolgin

Nature Outlook

  • Nature Outlook |


    Epilepsy is a common neurological condition that affects 50 million people worldwide. For many patients, medication helps reduce seizure frequency; for drug-resistant epilepsy, treatments include diet therapy and neurosurgery. Although discussed and feared for millennia, progress towards understanding epilepsy has been slow — even with help from modern genetic and neurological analysis. Stigmatization of people with epilepsy continues in certain parts of the world and though lack of funding limits epilepsy research, new ways to treat and manage seizures are on the horizon.

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