Volume 531 Issue 7593, 10 March 2016

The development of the CRISPR–Cas9 gene-editing tool has revolutionized molecular biology. Used to modify the genomes of viruses, bacteria, animals and plants, it has the potential to reveal the secrets of genomic organization, combat disease, improve crops, make designer pets and much more. All this � complicated by the announcement that the technique has been used to modify the genomes of human embryos � presents formidable ethical problems for regulatory bodies to wrestle with. This special issue of Nature surveys the CRISPR–Cas9 scene and poses the question: what do we want a gene-edited world to look like? Cover art by Chris Labrooy.

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  • Feature |

    The make-up of a lab is crucial to success in publishing its research — and now, scientists are exploring how to compose the best research group possible.

    • Chris Woolston
  • Futures

  • Futures |

    A fresh connection.

    • Bogi Takács

Research

    Brief Communication Arising

  • Brief Communications

  • Brief Communication |

    • Jeremy C. Palmer
    • , Fausto Martelli
    • , Yang Liu
    • , Roberto Car
    • , Athanassios Z. Panagiotopoulos
    •  & Pablo G. Debenedetti
  • News & Views

  • News & Views |

    An analysis confirms the long-standing theory that sex increases the rate of adaptive evolution by accelerating the speed at which beneficial mutations sweep through sexual, as opposed to asexual, populations. See Letter p.233

    • Matthew R. Goddard
  • News & Views |

    Quantum computers will one day wildly outperform conventional machines. An experimental feat reveals a fundamental property of exotic superconductors that brings this quantum technology a step closer. See Letter p.206

    • Jason Alicea
  • News & Views |

    In flowering plants, sperm-containing pollen tubes are guided towards ovules by attractants from the female reproductive organ. Receptors for the attractant molecule AtLURE1 have now been found. See Letters p.241 & p.245

    • Alice Y. Cheung
    •  & Hen-Ming Wu
  • News & Views |

    Carbon dioxide is an abundant resource, but difficult for industry to use effectively. A simple reaction might allow it to be used to make commercial products more sustainably than with current processes. See Letter p.215

    • Eric J. Beckman
  • News & Views |

    Satellite data have allowed scientists to generate a quantitative model to assess the response rates of different ecosystems to climate variability. The index provides a tool for comparing regional sensitivity and resilience. See Letter p.229

    • Alfredo Huete
  • News & Views |

    Nitric oxide gas has now been found to act as a switch during developmental remodelling of axonal projections from neurons: high gas levels promote the degeneration of unwanted axons and low levels support subsequent regrowth.

    • Takeshi Awasaki
    •  & Kei Ito
  • Articles

  • Article |

    In the mammalian navigational system, neurons have been identified in the CA2 region of the hippocampus that keep track of position when an animal is not moving.

    • Kenneth Kay
    • , Marielena Sosa
    • , Jason E. Chung
    • , Mattias P. Karlsson
    • , Margaret C. Larkin
    •  & Loren M. Frank
  • Article |

    Defects in the ribosome quality control (RQC) complex, which clears proteins that stalled during translation, can cause neurodegeneration; here it is shown that in RQC-defective cells a peptide tail added by the RQC subunit 2 to stalled polypeptides promotes their aggregation and the sequestration of chaperones in these aggregates, affecting normal protein quality control processes.

    • Young-Jun Choe
    • , Sae-Hun Park
    • , Timm Hassemer
    • , Roman Körner
    • , Lisa Vincenz-Donnelly
    • , Manajit Hayer-Hartl
    •  & F. Ulrich Hartl
  • Article |

    The X-ray crystal structure of a two-pore channel from Arabidopsis thaliana reveals the structure and the mechanism of voltage gating of this class of ubiquitous cation-selective ion channels.

    • Jiangtao Guo
    • , Weizhong Zeng
    • , Qingfeng Chen
    • , Changkeun Lee
    • , Liping Chen
    • , Yi Yang
    • , Chunlei Cang
    • , Dejian Ren
    •  & Youxing Jiang
  • Letters

  • Letter |

    Observations of repeated fast radio bursts, having dispersion measures and sky positions consistent with those of FRB 121102, show that the signals do not originate in a single cataclysmic event and may come from a young, highly magnetized, extragalactic neutron star.

    • L. G. Spitler
    • , P. Scholz
    • , J. W. T. Hessels
    • , S. Bogdanov
    • , A. Brazier
    • , F. Camilo
    • , S. Chatterjee
    • , J. M. Cordes
    • , F. Crawford
    • , J. Deneva
    • , R. D. Ferdman
    • , P. C. C. Freire
    • , V. M. Kaspi
    • , P. Lazarus
    • , R. Lynch
    • , E. C. Madsen
    • , M. A. McLaughlin
    • , C. Patel
    • , S. M. Ransom
    • , A. Seymour
    • , I. H. Stairs
    • , B. W. Stappers
    • , J. van Leeuwen
    •  & W. W. Zhu
  • Letter |

    The splitting of zero-energy Majorana modes in a tunnel-coupled InAs nanowire with epitaxial aluminium is exponentially suppressed as the wire length is increased, resulting in protection of these modes; this result helps to establish the robust presence of Majorana modes and quantifies exponential protection in nanowire devices.

    • S. M. Albrecht
    • , A. P. Higginbotham
    • , M. Madsen
    • , F. Kuemmeth
    • , T. S. Jespersen
    • , J. Nygård
    • , P. Krogstrup
    •  & C. M. Marcus
  • Letter |

    Low-temperature measurements of the Hall effect in cuprate materials in which superconductivity is suppressed by high magnetic fields show that the pseudogap is not related to the charge ordering that has been seen at intermediate doping levels, but is instead linked to the antiferromagnetic Mott insulator at low doping.

    • S. Badoux
    • , W. Tabis
    • , F. Laliberté
    • , G. Grissonnanche
    • , B. Vignolle
    • , D. Vignolles
    • , J. Béard
    • , D. A. Bonn
    • , W. N. Hardy
    • , R. Liang
    • , N. Doiron-Leyraud
    • , Louis Taillefer
    •  & Cyril Proust
  • Letter |

    Molten salts at intermediate temperatures enable efficient carbonate-promoted carboxylation of very weakly acidic C–H bonds, revealing a new way to transform inedible biomass and carbon dioxide into valuable feedstock chemicals.

    • Aanindeeta Banerjee
    • , Graham R. Dick
    • , Tatsuhiko Yoshino
    •  & Matthew W. Kanan
  • Letter |

    An approach to selectively manipulate the C–H bonds of alicyclic amines at sites remote to nitrogen is demonstrated by the synthesis of new derivatives of several bioactive molecules, including varenicline, a drug used to treat nicotine addiction.

    • Joseph J. Topczewski
    • , Pablo J. Cabrera
    • , Noam I. Saper
    •  & Melanie S. Sanford
  • Letter |

    The net balance of terrestrial biogenic greenhouse gases produced as a result of human activities and the climatic impact of this balance are uncertain; here the net cumulative impact of the three greenhouse gases, methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide, on the planetary energy budget from 2001 to 2010 is a warming of the planet.

    • Hanqin Tian
    • , Chaoqun Lu
    • , Philippe Ciais
    • , Anna M. Michalak
    • , Josep G. Canadell
    • , Eri Saikawa
    • , Deborah N. Huntzinger
    • , Kevin R. Gurney
    • , Stephen Sitch
    • , Bowen Zhang
    • , Jia Yang
    • , Philippe Bousquet
    • , Lori Bruhwiler
    • , Guangsheng Chen
    • , Edward Dlugokencky
    • , Pierre Friedlingstein
    • , Jerry Melillo
    • , Shufen Pan
    • , Benjamin Poulter
    • , Ronald Prinn
    • , Marielle Saunois
    • , Christopher R. Schwalm
    •  & Steven C. Wofsy
  • Letter |

    Using satellite data and a novel analytical approach, a new index of the sensitivity of vegetation to climate variability is developed, revealing areas of high sensitivity that include tundra, boreal forest, tropical forest and temperate grasslands.

    • Alistair W. R. Seddon
    • , Marc Macias-Fauria
    • , Peter R. Long
    • , David Benz
    •  & Kathy J. Willis
  • Letter |

    In a comparison between replicate sexual and asexual populations of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, sexual reproduction increases fitness by reducing clonal interference and alters the type of mutations that get fixed by natural selection.

    • Michael J. McDonald
    • , Daniel P. Rice
    •  & Michael M. Desai
  • Letter |

    The salamander, or axolotl, is well known to be able to regenerate missing body parts, but the signals that drive the initial proliferative response were unclear; now, a secreted protein has been identified that induces the initial cell cycle response after injury.

    • Takuji Sugiura
    • , Heng Wang
    • , Rico Barsacchi
    • , Andras Simon
    •  & Elly M. Tanaka
  • Letter |

    A male cell-surface receptor-like kinase that responds to the female chemoattractant LURE1 on the pollen tube of Arabidopsis thaliana is identified; LURE1 triggers dimerization of the receptor components and activation of the kinase activity, and the transformation of a component of the A. thaliana receptor to the Capsella rubella species partially breaks down the reproductive isolation barrier.

    • Tong Wang
    • , Liang Liang
    • , Yong Xue
    • , Peng-Fei Jia
    • , Wei Chen
    • , Meng-Xia Zhang
    • , Ying-Chun Wang
    • , Hong-Ju Li
    •  & Wei-Cai Yang
  • Letter |

    Pollen-specific receptor-like kinase 6 (PRK6), which signals through the guanine nucleotide-exchange factors ROPGEFs, is required for sensing of the LURE1 attractant peptide in Arabidopsis thaliana, and functions together with other PRK family kinases; when introduced into the pollen tubes of the related species Capsella rubella, PRK6 could confer responsiveness to AtLURE1.

    • Hidenori Takeuchi
    •  & Tetsuya Higashiyama
  • Letter |

    Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is shown to promote hepatocellular carcinoma through the generation of linoleic acid, disruption of mitochondrial function and selective loss of CD4+ T cells, leading to impaired anti-tumour immunity.

    • Chi Ma
    • , Aparna H. Kesarwala
    • , Tobias Eggert
    • , José Medina-Echeverz
    • , David E. Kleiner
    • , Ping Jin
    • , David F. Stroncek
    • , Masaki Terabe
    • , Veena Kapoor
    • , Mei ElGindi
    • , Miaojun Han
    • , Angela M. Thornton
    • , Haibo Zhang
    • , Michèle Egger
    • , Ji Luo
    • , Dean W. Felsher
    • , Daniel W. McVicar
    • , Achim Weber
    • , Mathias Heikenwalder
    •  & Tim F. Greten

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