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Volume 512 Issue 7513, 14 August 2014


  • Editorial |

    Infants and young people are being traumatized by armed conflict in their countries. Their resulting mental illnesses must be addressed, for the good of both the individuals and their society.

  • Editorial |

    Pushing the boundaries of current computing technologies will show the way to new ones.

World View

Research Highlights

Seven Days

  • Seven Days |

    The week in science: Ebola declared an international public-health emergency; power-cut at UK’s Antarctic research station; and Rosetta space probe catches up with a comet.


News Feature


  • Comment |

    Careless discussion of epigenetic research on how early life affects health across generations could harm women, warn Sarah S. Richardson and colleagues.

    • Sarah S. Richardson
    • Cynthia R. Daniels
    • Janet Rich-Edwards

Books & Arts

  • Books & Arts |

    Barbara Kiser reviews five of the week’s best science picks.

    • Barbara Kiser


News & Views

  • News & Views |

    The identification of neural subcircuits used by female fruit flies to make a choice about whether to copulate with a potential mate provides a template for understanding how the brain integrates complex information to reach decisions.

    • Leslie C. Griffith
  • News & Views |

    Analysis of a kilometre-sized, near-Earth asteroid shows that forces weaker than the weight of a penny can keep it from falling apart. This has implications for understanding the evolution of the Solar System. See Letter p.174

    • Daniel J. Scheeres
  • News & Views |

    Ageing is accompanied by deterioration in the haematopoietic stem cells that are responsible for regenerating the blood system. Cellular stress in the aged stem cells could be a cause of this decline. See Letter p.198

    • Jiri Bartek
    • Zdenek Hodny
  • News & Views |

    The experimental realization of amorphous pure metals sets the stage for studies of the fundamental processes of glass formation, and suggests that amorphous structures are the most ubiquitous forms of condensed matter. See Letter P.177

    • Jan Schroers
  • News & Views |

    Single-cell DNA sequencing of two breast-cancer types has shown extensive mutational variation in individual tumours, confirming that generation of genetic diversity may be inherent in how tumours evolve. See Article p.155

    • Edward J. Fox
    • Lawrence A. Loeb
  • News & Views |

    A fully automated optics system that corrects atmospheric blurring of celestial objects has imaged 715 star systems thought to harbour planets, completing each observation in less time than it takes to read this article.

    • Brent Ellerbroek
  • News & Views |

    The crystal structure of the COP9 signalosome, a large protein complex that regulates intracellular protein degradation, reveals how the complex achieves exquisite specificity for its substrates. See Article p.161

    • Raymond J. Deshaies

Review Article

  • Review Article |

    To evaluate the promise of potential computing technologies, this review examines a wide range of fundamental limits, such as to performance, power consumption, size and cost, from the device level to the system level.

    • Igor L. Markov


  • Article |

    To investigate genomic diversity within tumours, a new type of whole-genome and exome single cell sequencing has been developed using G2/M nuclei; the technique was used to sequence single nuclei from an oestrogen-positive breast cancer and a triple-negative ductal carcinoma—aneuploidy rearrangements emerged as early events in tumour formation and then point mutations evolved gradually over time.

    • Yong Wang
    • Jill Waters
    • Nicholas E. Navin
  • Article |

    The COP9 signalosome (CSN) complex regulates cullin–RING E3 ubiquitin ligases—the largest class of ubiquitin ligase enzymes, which are involved in a multitude of regulatory processes; here, the crystal structure of the entire human CSN holoenzyme is presented.

    • Gondichatnahalli M. Lingaraju
    • Richard D. Bunker
    • Nicolas H. Thomä
  • Article |

    The three-dimensional structure of intact human γ-secretase complex at 4.5 Å resolution is revealed by cryo-electron-microscopy single-particle analysis; the complex comprises a horseshoe-shaped transmembrane domain containing 19 transmembrane segments, and a large extracellular domain from nicastrin, which sits immediately above the hollow space formed by the horseshoe.

    • Peilong Lu
    • Xiao-chen Bai
    • Yigong Shi


  • Letter |

    The contribution of solar-wind ions exchanging electrons with helium and hydrogen near the Sun is shown to be only about 40 per cent of the 1/4-keV X-ray flux observed in the Galactic plane; this supports the existence of a local ‘hot bubble’ filled with X-ray-emitting gas, accounting for the rest of the flux.

    • M. Galeazzi
    • M. Chiao
    • B. M. Walsh
  • Letter |

    Metallic liquids of single elements have been successfully vitrified to their glassy states by achieving an ultrafast quenching rate in a new experimental design, of which the process has been monitored and studied by a combination of in situ transmission electron microscopy and atoms-to-continuum computer modelling.

    • Li Zhong
    • Jiangwei Wang
    • Scott X. Mao
  • Letter |

    Analysis of the Moon's topography reveals that when its largest basins are removed, the lunar shape is consistent with processes controlled by early Earth tides, and implies a reorientation of the Moon's principal shape axes.

    • Ian Garrick-Bethell
    • Viranga Perera
    • Maria T. Zuber
  • Letter |

    Many factors have been proposed as contributors to risk of alcohol abuse, but quantifying their influence has been difficult; here a longitudinal study of a large sample of adolescents and machine learning are used to generate models of predictors of current and future alcohol abuse, assessing the relative contribution of many factors, including life history, individual personality differences, brain structure and genotype.

    • Robert Whelan
    • Richard Watts
    • Veronika Ziesch.
  • Letter |

    An association mapping study of type-2-diabetes-related quantitative traits in the Greenlandic population identified a common variant in TBC1D4 that increases plasma glucose levels and serum insulin levels after an oral glucose load and type 2 diabetes risk, with effect sizes several times larger than any previous findings of large-scale genome-wide association studies for these traits.

    • Ida Moltke
    • Niels Grarup
    • Torben Hansen
  • Letter |

    Admixture with other hominin species helped humans to adapt to high-altitude environments; the EPAS1 gene in Tibetan individuals has an unusual haplotype structure that probably resulted from introgression of DNA from Denisovan or Denisovan-related individuals into humans, and this haplotype is only found in Denisovans and Tibetans, and at low frequency among Han Chinese.

    • Emilia Huerta-Sánchez
    • Xin Jin
    • Rasmus Nielsen
  • Letter |

    Haematopoietic stem cell (HSC) function is known to degrade with age; here, replication stress is shown to be a potent driver of the functional decline of HSCs during physiological ageing in mice due to decreased expression of mini-chromosome maintenance helicase components and reduced activity of the DNA replication machinery.

    • Johanna Flach
    • Sietske T. Bakker
    • Emmanuelle Passegué



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