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Volume 513 Issue 7516, 4 September 2014

A slice through the Laniakea supercluster — home: velocity flow streams within our supercluster are shown white, external flows dark blue. The Milky Way is a member of the Local Group of galaxies. The Milky Way is a member of the Local Group of galaxies. Now have sufficient data on the distances and motions of galaxies to be able to describe a much larger level of organization in our corner of the Universe — a supercluster 160 megaparsecs across and containing 1017 solar masses. Brent Tully et al. use a new catalogue of ‘peculiar velocities’, line-of-sight departures from cosmic expansion caused by gravitational perturbation, to develop a map representing the distribution of matter. They identify a ‘home’ supercluster that they name Laniakea — from the Hawaiian lani and akea (‘heaven’ and ‘spacious’). It includes the Virgo cluster, the Norma, Hydra and Centaurus clusters (also known as the Great Attractor), the Pavo-Indus filament and a number of voids. Cover art: Mark A. Garlick / source, Daniel Pomarede.


  • Editorial |

    With high numbers of postdocs emerging from universities, prospective PhD students must be prepared for the fact that they will probably not end up with a career in research.

  • Editorial |

    The discovery of our Galaxy’s place in the Universe adds detail to our address.

  • Editorial |

    A new section of Nature examines the software and websites that make research easier.

World View

  • World View |

    Metrics that give a global overview risk sidelining science in developing nations, argues Casparus J. Crous.

    • Casparus J Crous

Research Highlights

Social Selection

Seven Days


News Feature


Books & Arts



News & Views

  • News & Views |

    Computer models show how hot material that rises from Earth's interior is affected by plate tectonics, producing unexpected irregularities in Earth's topography and assisting in the break-up of continental plates. See Letter p.85

    • Susanne Buiter
  • News & Views |

    Ambitious experimental and morphological studies of a modern fish show how developmental flexibility may have helped early 'fishapods' to make the transition from finned aquatic animals to tetrapods that walk on land. See Article p.54

    • John Hutchinson
  • News & Views |

    The finding that RIPK1, an integral protein in cell-death pathways, also functions to preserve the body's epithelial-cell barriers challenges the idea that cell death and survival are regulated by distinct factors. See Letters p.90 & p.95

    • Francis Ka-Ming Chan
  • News & Views |

    Genome editing followed by sequencing has now been used to engineer and analyse every variation of several stretches of human DNA in living cells, providing insight into the function of each constituent nucleotide molecule. See Letter p.120

    • Fyodor D. Urnov
  • News & Views |

    An analysis of a three-dimensional map of galaxies and their velocities reveals the hitherto unknown edges of the large system of galaxies in which we live — dubbed the Laniakea supercluster. See Letter p.71

    • Elmo Tempel
  • News & Views |

    Fluorescent tags are proving invaluable for tracking RNA molecules in cells. Two sets of crystal structures for one such tag — an RNA motif that fluoresces when bound to a dye — will aid the development of even better markers.

    • William G. Scott


Review Article

  • Review Article |

    The intertropical convergence zone, where global rainfall is greatest, is a narrow belt of clouds usually centred about six degrees north of the Equator; this Review links its migrations on various timescales to the atmospheric energy balance.

    • Tapio Schneider
    • Tobias Bischoff
    • Gerald H. Haug


  • Article |

    The most primitive extant bony fish, Polypterus, exhibits adaptive plasticity for life on land when raised on land rather than in water, suggesting that environmentally induced phenotypic plasticity might have facilitated the macroevolutionary transition to life on land.

    • Emily M. Standen
    • Trina Y. Du
    • Hans C. E. Larsson
  • Article |

    The translation of many messenger RNAs that encode important oncogenes and transcription factors depends on the eIF4A RNA helicase to resolve G-quadruplex structures, implying eIF4A inhibition as an effective cancer therapy.

    • Andrew L. Wolfe
    • Kamini Singh
    • Hans-Guido Wendel


  • Letter |

    Examination of a three-dimensional map of galaxies and their velocities shows a surface bounding the motions of galaxies that are inward after removal of the mean cosmic expansion and long-range flows; the galaxies within this surface lie within our home supercluster.

    • R. Brent Tully
    • Hélène Courtois
    • Daniel Pomarède
  • Letter |

    The discovery of two stable peaks at frequencies with a ratio of 3:2 in the power spectrum of X-ray emission from the brightest X-ray source in galaxy M82 suggests that, if the relationship between frequency and mass that holds for stellar-mass black holes can be extended to intermediate masses, the black hole believed to be the source of the emission has a mass approximately 400 times that of the Sun.

    • Dheeraj R. Pasham
    • Tod E. Strohmayer
    • Richard F. Mushotzky
  • Letter |

    Microbial community responses in soils from the Arctic to the Amazon often enhance the longer-term temperature sensitivity of respiration, particularly in soils with high carbon-to-nitrogen ratios and in soils from cold regions, suggesting that carbon stored in Arctic and boreal soils could be more vulnerable to climate warming than currently predicted.

    • Kristiina Karhu
    • Marc D. Auffret
    • Iain P. Hartley
  • Letter |

    Three-dimensional numerical models of the interaction of a mantle plume with a rheologically realistic lithosphere predict complex surface evolution very different from the smooth, radially symmetric patterns usually assumed to be the signature of a mantle upwelling, with strongly asymmetric small-scale three-dimensional features such as rifts and linear fault structures.

    • Evgueni Burov
    • Taras Gerya
  • Letter |

    Many patients with cancer experience cachexia, a wasting disorder of adipose tissue and skeletal muscle that leads to weight loss and frailty; now, tumour-derived parathyroid-hormone-related protein has been shown to stimulate the expression of genes involved in heat production in adipose tissues and to have an important role in tissue wasting.

    • Serkan Kir
    • James P. White
    • Bruce M. Spiegelman
  • Letter |

    BRAF mutations occur frequently in melanomas, but patients generally develop resistance to agents targeting mutant BRAF; now, the persistent formation of the translation initiation complex eIF4F has been described as an indicator of multiple mechanisms of resistance that arise in BRAF-mutated tumours and as a promising therapeutic target.

    • Lise Boussemart
    • Hélène Malka-Mahieu
    • Stéphan Vagner
  • Letter |

    Gain-of-function mutations in isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) are among the most common genetic alterations in intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (IHCC), a deadly cancer of the liver bile ducts; now mutant IDH is shown to block liver cell differentiation through the suppression of HNF-4α, a master regulator of hepatocyte identity and quiescence, leading to expansion of liver progenitor cells primed for progression to IHCC.

    • Supriya K. Saha
    • Christine A. Parachoniak
    • Nabeel Bardeesy
  • Letter |

    Using a new method to estimate DNA methylation turnover rate, embryonic stem cells are shown to lack clonal transmission of methylation but still maintain a stable epigenetic state, whereas somatic cells transmit methylation clonally but lose epigenetic state coherence owing to the persistence of accumulated methylation errors.

    • Zohar Shipony
    • Zohar Mukamel
    • Amos Tanay
  • Letter |

    The authors perform saturation mutagenesis of genomic regions in their native endogenous chromosomal context by using CRISPR/Cas9 RNA-guided cleavage and multiplex homology-directed repair; its utility is demonstrated by measuring the effects of hundreds to thousands of genomic edits to BRCA1 and DBR1 on splicing and cellular fitness, respectively.

    • Gregory M. Findlay
    • Evan A. Boyle
    • Jay Shendure




  • Feature |

    How people present their research and aspirations during interviews for academic positions can make or break their career.

    • Amanda Mascarelli



  • Futures |

    Creative thought.

    • Simon Kewin
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