Volume 549 Issue 7673, 28 September 2017

Earth was formed through the collisions of countless planetesimals. These building blocks are today represented by meteorites, the elemental compositions of some of which, the carbonaceous chondrites, are thought to reflect the chemistry of the early Solar System. As such, Earth’s chemical make-up ought to be similar to these meteorites and in many respects it is. Earth is, however, strongly depleted in moderately volatile elements such as lead, zinc and indium. A potential explanation for these depletions is that these elements evaporated from molten rock during the planet-forming processes and in this week’s issue, Ashley Norris and Bernard Wood interrogate this idea further, resolving some of the inconsistencies seen in earlier proposals. By melting basaltic rock in a furnace under controlled conditions, the researchers examined the melting processes that would have occurred during the accretion of Earth and its precursor bodies. They found that the pattern of depletion of volatile elements is consistent with partial melting and vaporization of the early Earth, and suggest that this occurred on small molten precursors or during energetic collisions — such as the violent impact with Earth that formed the Moon. The cover shows one such instance of the proto-Earth and a nearby planetesimal. Heated by collisions and the decay of aluminium-26, the bodies degas volatile elements, forming thick atmospheres, which are ultimately swept to interstellar space by the solar wind, removing the volatile elements from the final composition of the planet. In related work, Remco Hin and his colleagues provide further evidence to support the idea of vaporization by the measuring the ratios of magnesium isotopes in Earth, Mars and some asteroids. Cover image: C. Ashley Norris

Editorial

World View

  • World View |

    Poor and minority communities already bear the brunt of natural catastrophes. Rebuilding efforts must not increase disparities, warns Benjamin K. Sovacool.

    • Benjamin K. Sovacool

Seven Days

News

Correction

News Feature

Comment

  • Comment |

    Shrink accelerators, sharpen beams and broaden health-care coverage so more people can get this type of radiation treatment, argue Thomas R. Bortfeld and Jay S. Loeffler.

    • Thomas R. Bortfeld
    •  & Jay S. Loeffler

Books & Arts

  • Books & Arts |

    Greg Lynall unpeels the science in the satire on the 350th anniversary of Jonathan Swift's birth.

    • Greg Lynall
  • Books & Arts |

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

    • Barbara Kiser
  • Books & Arts |

    Judith Glynn takes in a show that probes the nexus of graphic art, behaviour and public health.

    • Judith Glynn

Correspondence

News & Views

  • News & Views |

    Efforts to treat brain tumours by targeting cancer cells have had only modest clinical success. It emerges that targeting a protein secreted from neurons adjacent to the tumour might be a useful alternative approach. See Letter p.533

    • Michael D. Taylor
    •  & Vijay Ramaswamy
  • News & Views |

    Two studies show that evaporation of molten rock was intrinsic to the formation of Earth and other rocky bodies in the Solar System, suggesting that violent collisions played a key part in the formation process. See Letters p.507 & p.511

    • Edward D. Young
  • News & Views |

    It emerges that high levels of vitamin C in blood-forming stem cells influence the number and function of the cells and affect the development of leukaemia, through binding to a tumour-suppressor protein, Tet2. See Article p.476

    • Peter G. Miller
    •  & Benjamin L. Ebert
  • News & Views |

    Conventional wisdom dictates that an electron's magnetic moment and momentum are strongly coupled only in materials made of heavy elements. An experiment demonstrates a striking counterexample. See Letter p.492

    • Zhi-Xun Shen
    •  & Jonathan Sobota
  • News & Views |

    Mutations that drive the abnormal expansion of progenitor subpopulations of blood cells are known to cause leukaemia. A genetic analysis reveals that these clonal blood stem-cell mutations are also common in people who have solid tumours.

    • Catriona Jamieson
  • News & Views |

    Infection during pregnancy increases the risk of neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism, in offspring. Mouse studies now reveal a link between gut bacteria and atypical brain-circuit connections. See Article p.482 & Letter p.528

    • Craig M. Powell

Article

  • Article |

    Path-length-dependent axonal synapse sorting of local presynaptic axons of excitatory neurons in the rat medial entorhinal cortex results in sequential targeting of inhibitory and excitatory neurons, which are connected by a cellular feedforward inhibition circuit.

    • Helene Schmidt
    • , Anjali Gour
    • , Jakob Straehle
    • , Kevin M. Boergens
    • , Michael Brecht
    •  & Moritz Helmstaedter
  • Article |

    Ascorbate depletion in mice increased haematopoietic stem-cell frequency and promoted leukaemogenesis, partly by reducing the function of the Tet2 tumour suppressor enzyme.

    • Michalis Agathocleous
    • , Corbin E. Meacham
    • , Rebecca J. Burgess
    • , Elena Piskounova
    • , Zhiyu Zhao
    • , Genevieve M. Crane
    • , Brianna L. Cowin
    • , Emily Bruner
    • , Malea M. Murphy
    • , Weina Chen
    • , Gerald J. Spangrude
    • , Zeping Hu
    • , Ralph J. DeBerardinis
    •  & Sean J. Morrison
  • Article |

    The authors define a specific cortical subregion of the somatosensory cortex as a critical region of dysfunction that is causal to the emergence of abnormal social and repetitive behaviours in mice exposed to maternal inflammation.

    • Yeong Shin Yim
    • , Ashley Park
    • , Janet Berrios
    • , Mathieu Lafourcade
    • , Leila M. Pascual
    • , Natalie Soares
    • , Joo Yeon Kim
    • , Sangdoo Kim
    • , Hyunju Kim
    • , Ari Waisman
    • , Dan R. Littman
    • , Ian R. Wickersham
    • , Mark T. Harnett
    • , Jun R. Huh
    •  & Gloria B. Choi

Letter

  • Letter |

    Radiation pressure on dusty gas is the main physical mechanism that regulates the distribution of the circumnuclear material that obscures many supermassive black holes.

    • Claudio Ricci
    • , Benny Trakhtenbrot
    • , Michael J. Koss
    • , Yoshihiro Ueda
    • , Kevin Schawinski
    • , Kyuseok Oh
    • , Isabella Lamperti
    • , Richard Mushotzky
    • , Ezequiel Treister
    • , Luis C. Ho
    • , Anna Weigel
    • , Franz E. Bauer
    • , Stephane Paltani
    • , Andrew C. Fabian
    • , Yanxia Xie
    •  & Neil Gehrels
  • Letter |

    Asymmetry in surface hopping energies in different atomic layers of delafossite oxides results in some of the largest known Rashba-like spin splittings.

    • Veronika Sunko
    • , H. Rosner
    • , P. Kushwaha
    • , S. Khim
    • , F. Mazzola
    • , L. Bawden
    • , O. J. Clark
    • , J. M. Riley
    • , D. Kasinathan
    • , M. W. Haverkort
    • , T. K. Kim
    • , M. Hoesch
    • , J. Fujii
    • , I. Vobornik
    • , A. P. Mackenzie
    •  & P. D. C. King
  • Letter |

    A polymer code based on a triplet of parameters—network strand length, side-chain length and grafting density—enables materials to be designed with specific combinations of mechanical properties to mimic biological materials.

    • Mohammad Vatankhah-Varnosfaderani
    • , William F. M. Daniel
    • , Matthew H. Everhart
    • , Ashish A. Pandya
    • , Heyi Liang
    • , Krzysztof Matyjaszewski
    • , Andrey V. Dobrynin
    •  & Sergei S. Sheiko
  • Letter |

    The enzyme LepI is found to be capable of catalysing several natural-product pericyclic transformations, including a hetero-Diels–Alder reaction and a retro-Claisen rearrangement.

    • Masao Ohashi
    • , Fang Liu
    • , Yang Hai
    • , Mengbin Chen
    • , Man-cheng Tang
    • , Zhongyue Yang
    • , Michio Sato
    • , Kenji Watanabe
    • , K. N. Houk
    •  & Yi Tang
  • Letter |

    The measurement of magnesium isotope ratios at improved accuracy suggests that planetary compositions result from fractionation between liquid and vapour, followed by vapour escape during accretionary growth.

    • Remco C. Hin
    • , Christopher D. Coath
    • , Philip J. Carter
    • , Francis Nimmo
    • , Yi-Jen Lai
    • , Philip A. E. Pogge von Strandmann
    • , Matthias Willbold
    • , Zoë M. Leinhardt
    • , Michael J. Walter
    •  & Tim Elliott
  • Letter |

    The authors provide evidence for the existence of life on Earth in the earliest known sedimentary rocks and suggest that the presence of organic carbon, and low stable-isotope values of graphite from sedimentary rocks in Labrador pushes back the existence of organic life to beyond 3.95 billion years.

    • Takayuki Tashiro
    • , Akizumi Ishida
    • , Masako Hori
    • , Motoko Igisu
    • , Mizuho Koike
    • , Pauline Méjean
    • , Naoto Takahata
    • , Yuji Sano
    •  & Tsuyoshi Komiya
  • Letter |

    Whole-genome sequencing data of 14,688 Icelanders, including 1,548 parent–offspring trios, show how the age and sex of parents affect the rate and spectrum of de novo mutations.

    • Hákon Jónsson
    • , Patrick Sulem
    • , Birte Kehr
    • , Snaedis Kristmundsdottir
    • , Florian Zink
    • , Eirikur Hjartarson
    • , Marteinn T. Hardarson
    • , Kristjan E. Hjorleifsson
    • , Hannes P. Eggertsson
    • , Sigurjon Axel Gudjonsson
    • , Lucas D. Ward
    • , Gudny A. Arnadottir
    • , Einar A. Helgason
    • , Hannes Helgason
    • , Arnaldur Gylfason
    • , Adalbjorg Jonasdottir
    • , Aslaug Jonasdottir
    • , Thorunn Rafnar
    • , Mike Frigge
    • , Simon N. Stacey
    • , Olafur Th. Magnusson
    • , Unnur Thorsteinsdottir
    • , Gisli Masson
    • , Augustine Kong
    • , Bjarni V. Halldorsson
    • , Agnar Helgason
    • , Daniel F. Gudbjartsson
    •  & Kari Stefansson
  • Letter |

    ApoE4 exacerbates tau pathogenesis, neuroinflammation and tau-mediated neurodegeneration independently of brain amyloid-β pathology, and exerts a ‘toxic’ gain of function whereas its absence is protective.

    • Yang Shi
    • , Kaoru Yamada
    • , Shane Antony Liddelow
    • , Scott T. Smith
    • , Lingzhi Zhao
    • , Wenjie Luo
    • , Richard M. Tsai
    • , Salvatore Spina
    • , Lea T. Grinberg
    • , Julio C. Rojas
    • , Gilbert Gallardo
    • , Kairuo Wang
    • , Joseph Roh
    • , Grace Robinson
    • , Mary Beth Finn
    • , Hong Jiang
    • , Patrick M. Sullivan
    • , Caroline Baufeld
    • , Michael W. Wood
    • , Courtney Sutphen
    • , Lena McCue
    • , Chengjie Xiong
    • , Jorge L. Del-Aguila
    • , John C. Morris
    • , Carlos Cruchaga
    • , Anne M. Fagan
    • , Bruce L. Miller
    • , Adam L. Boxer
    • , William W. Seeley
    • , Oleg Butovsky
    • , Ben A. Barres
    • , Steven M. Paul
    •  & David M. Holtzman
  • Letter |

    Maternal immune activation (MIA)-mediated abnormal behavioural phenotypes require defined gut commensal bacteria for the induction of IL-17-producing T helper 17 cells.

    • Sangdoo Kim
    • , Hyunju Kim
    • , Yeong Shin Yim
    • , Soyoung Ha
    • , Koji Atarashi
    • , Tze Guan Tan
    • , Randy S. Longman
    • , Kenya Honda
    • , Dan R. Littman
    • , Gloria B. Choi
    •  & Jun R. Huh
  • Letter |

    The growth of adult and paediatric brain tumours depends on a microenvironmental signalling pathway involving the activity-regulated secretion of neuroligin-3 (NLGN3) from normal neurons and oligodendrocyte precursor cells, highlighting the potential of NLGN3 as a therapeutic target.

    • Humsa S. Venkatesh
    • , Lydia T. Tam
    • , Pamelyn J. Woo
    • , James Lennon
    • , Surya Nagaraja
    • , Shawn M. Gillespie
    • , Jing Ni
    • , Damien Y. Duveau
    • , Patrick J. Morris
    • , Jean J. Zhao
    • , Craig J. Thomas
    •  & Michelle Monje
  • Letter |

    A novel quantitative approach to identify intact glycopeptides from comparative proteomic data sets, allowing inference of complex glycan structures and direct mapping of them to sites within the associated proteins at the proteome scale.

    • Johannes Stadlmann
    • , Jasmin Taubenschmid
    • , Daniel Wenzel
    • , Anna Gattinger
    • , Gerhard Dürnberger
    • , Frederico Dusberger
    • , Ulrich Elling
    • , Lukas Mach
    • , Karl Mechtler
    •  & Josef M. Penninger
  • Letter |

    Analysis of global remethylation in mouse embryos at several developmental stages identifies an epigenetic landscape that partitions extraembryonic tissues within the embryo and resembles a frequent, global departure in genome regulation in human cancers.

    • Zachary D. Smith
    • , Jiantao Shi
    • , Hongcang Gu
    • , Julie Donaghey
    • , Kendell Clement
    • , Davide Cacchiarelli
    • , Andreas Gnirke
    • , Franziska Michor
    •  & Alexander Meissner
  • Letter |

    CYREN is a direct inhibitor of classical non-homologous end joining that promotes error-free repair by homologous recombination during the S and G2 phases of the cell cycle.

    • Nausica Arnoult
    • , Adriana Correia
    • , Jiao Ma
    • , Anna Merlo
    • , Sara Garcia-Gomez
    • , Marija Maric
    • , Marco Tognetti
    • , Christopher W. Benner
    • , Simon J. Boulton
    • , Alan Saghatelian
    •  & Jan Karlseder

Feature

Column

  • Column |

    Postdoc advocacy is key, say Antoine de Morrée, Forrest Collman, Catherine Gordon and Megan Klabunde.

    • Antoine de Morree
    • , Forrest Collman
    • , Catherine Gordon
    •  & Megan Klabunde

Futures

  • Futures |

    Something to remember.

    • Zach Chapman

Outlook

  • Outlook |

    • Herb Brody

    Nature Outlook:

  • Outlook |

    Technological advances are creating an explosion in possibilities for the blood-based diagnosis of brain injuries, infections and cancers.

    • Emily Sohn

    Nature Outlook:

  • Outlook |

    When threats emerge to the blood supply, public-health officials must make difficult decisions to reduce the risk of infections being transmitted by transfusions.

    • Cassandra Willyard

    Nature Outlook:

  • Outlook |

    The ability to give donated blood to patients has saved countless lives. But the routine nature of such transfusions is being rethought.

    • Bianca Nogrady

    Nature Outlook:

  • Outlook |

    Bloodstain pattern analysis is used by forensic scientists to help reconstruct violent crimes. Efforts are underway to root the often subjective practice in science.

    • Sujata Gupta

    Nature Outlook:

  • Outlook |

    Alzheimer's disease and ageing brains could benefit from therapies based on blood's liquid component.

    • Liam Drew

    Nature Outlook:

Nature Index

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