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Volume 524 Issue 7563, 6 August 2015

Mawa, Bong County, Liberia, in September 2014. The current Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa is rumbling on ï in the week to 22 July WHO reported 22 confirmed cases in Guinea, 4 in Sierra Leone and none in Liberia where the outbreak was declared ïover on 9 May. This issue of Nature features comment on the lessons learned in coping with the outbreak and on how this and other diseases might be contained in the future. Cover: Benedicte Kurzen/NOOR/eyevine


  • Editorial |

    The success of an Ebola vaccine trial shows that clinical trials can be done under the difficult field conditions of an epidemic — if there is enough political and regulatory will.


  • Editorial |

    ‘Gene drive’ techniques have the potential to alter whole populations. Regulators must catch up.

World View

Research Highlights

Social Selection

Seven Days

News Explainer


News Feature

  • News Feature |

    Slow, solid-state reactions used by lichens and Renaissance pigment-makers could help to make chemistry greener.

    • XiaoZhi Lim
  • News Feature |

    The world is ill-prepared for the next epidemic or pandemic. But the horror of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa may drive change.

    • Declan Butler




Books & Arts



  • Obituary |

    Palaeobiologist who pioneered mathematical modelling of mass extinctions.

    • Douglas H. Erwin

News & Views

  • News & Views |

    Pinpointing the nodes whose removal most effectively disrupts a network has become a lot easier with the development of an efficient algorithm. Potential applications might include cybersecurity and disease control. See Letter p.65

    • István A. Kovács
    • Albert-László Barabási
  • News & Views |

    A microneedle-containing patch that is designed to sense elevated blood glucose levels and to respond by releasing insulin could offer people with diabetes a less-painful and more-reliable way to manage their condition.

    • Omid Veiseh
    • Robert Langer
  • News & Views |

    Overexpression of the enzyme cytidine deaminase allows the incorporation of abnormally modified nucleotides into DNA, leading to cell death. This discovery might point the way to treating some cancers. See Letter p.114

    • Sharanya Sivanand
    • Kathryn E. Wellen
  • News & Views |

    Copper and manganese have been engineered to show magnetism at room temperature in thin films interfaced with organic molecules. The findings show promise for developing new magnetic materials. See Letter p.69

    • Karthik V. Raman
    • Jagadeesh S. Moodera
  • News & Views |

    Cyanate, a degradation product of urea and cyanide, has been found to be a sufficient single substrate for the growth and reciprocal feeding of microorganisms that are essential to the global nitrogen cycle. See Letter p.105

    • Lisa Y. Stein
  • News & Views |

    How will Earth's vegetation cover respond to climate change, and how does this compare with changes associated with human land use? Modelling studies reveal how little we still know, and act as a clarion call for further work.

    • Almut Arneth
  • News & Views |

    The ribosome is the cellular complex of proteins and RNA molecules that synthesizes proteins. An artificial ribosome in which the two main subunits are tethered together creates opportunities for engineering this process. See Letter p.119

    • Joseph D. Puglisi


  • Article |

    Genomic sequencing of 110 human small cell lung cancers identifies genomic signatures including nearly ubiquitous bi-allelic inactivation of TP53 and RB1, a role for NOTCH family genes, and somatic rearrangements that create an oncogenic version of TP73.

    • Julie George
    • Jing Shan Lim
    • Roman K. Thomas
  • Article |

    Solving the crystal structure of an exosome complex from yeast, bound to different RNA substrates, offers insights into how the exosome can be utilized for precise processing of some 3′ ends, such as that of the 5.8S rRNA, while other RNAs are degraded to completion.

    • Debora Lika Makino
    • Benjamin Schuch
    • Elena Conti


  • Letter |

    A rigorous method to determine the most influential superspreaders in complex networks is presented—involving the mapping of the problem onto optimal percolation along with a scalable algorithm for big-data social networks—showing, unexpectedly, that many weak nodes can be powerful influencers.

    • Flaviano Morone
    • Hernán A. Makse
  • Letter |

    Measurements of sediments eroded by the Mackenzie River reveal the widespread export of permafrost-derived biospheric carbon that is several thousand years old, and demonstrate its burial in the Arctic Ocean, suggesting that high-latitude rivers can act as important carbon dioxide sinks.

    • Robert G. Hilton
    • Valier Galy
    • Damien Calmels
  • Letter |

    To better understand the relationship between input and output connectivity for neurons of interest in specific brain regions, a viral-genetic tracing approach is used to identify input based on a combination of neurons’ projection and cell type, as illustrated in a study of locus coeruleus noradrenaline neurons.

    • Lindsay A. Schwarz
    • Kazunari Miyamichi
    • Liqun Luo
  • Letter | | Open Access

    The genome sequences of 175 Ebola virus from five districts in Sierra Leone, collected during September–November 2014, show that the rate of virus evolution seems to be similar to that observed during previous outbreaks and that the genetic diversity of the virus has increased substantially, with the emergence of several novel lineages.

    • Yi-Gang Tong
    • Wei-Feng Shi
    • George F. Gao


  • Letter | | Open Access

    An analysis of 85 Ebola virus sequences collected in Guinea from July to November 2014 provides insight into the evolution of the Ebola virus responsible for the epidemic in West Africa; the results show sustained transmission of three co-circulating lineages, each defined by multiple mutations.

    • Etienne Simon-Loriere
    • Ousmane Faye
    • Amadou A. Sall


  • Letter |

    The ammonia-oxidizing archaeon Nitrososphaera gargensis can utilize cyanate as the only source of energy for growth due to the presence of a cyanase enzyme, and cyanase-encoding nitrite-oxidizing bacteria can work together with cyanase-negative ammonia oxidizers to collectively grow on cyanate via reciprocal feeding; cyanases are widespread in the environment according to metagenomic data sets, pointing to the potential importance of cyanate in the nitrogen cycle.

    • Marton Palatinszky
    • Craig Herbold
    • Michael Wagner
  • Letter |

    The GTPase dynamin provides the driving force for fission of membrane-bound vesicular structures; here, it is shown that dynamin-driven membrane fission proceeds in two mechanistically distinct stages that are separated by a metastable hemi-fission intermediate that requires GTP hydrolysis for progression to full fission.

    • Juha-Pekka Mattila
    • Anna V. Shnyrova
    • Vadim A. Frolov
  • Letter |

    Enzymes of the nucleotide salvage pathway are shown to have substrate selectivity that protects newly synthesized DNA from random incorporation of epigenetically modified forms of cytosine; a subset of cancer cell lines that overexpress cytidine deaminase (CDA) are sensitive to treatment with 5hmdC or 5fdC (oxidized forms of 5-methyl-cytosine), which leads to DNA damage and cell death, indicating the chemotherapeutic potential of these nucleoside variants for CDA-overexpressing cancers.

    • Melania Zauri
    • Georgina Berridge
    • Skirmantas Kriaucionis
  • Letter |

    A ribosome with tethered subunits, ‘Ribo-T’, is engineered by making a hybrid RNA composed of ribosomal RNA of large and small subunits; Ribo-T can support cell growth in vivo in the absence of wild-type ribosomes, and is used to establish a fully orthogonal ribosome–mRNA system.

    • Cédric Orelle
    • Erik D. Carlson
    • Alexander S. Mankin



  • Feature |

    With careful planning, new faculty hires can stretch their start-up funds to launch successful research programmes.

    • Hannah Hoag



  • Futures |

    Someone to watch over you.

    • Stephen S. Power
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