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Volume 556 Issue 7700, 12 April 2018

Mountain peaks

The cover shows the Alpine rock jasmine (Androsace alpina) in the scree of Piz Lagalb in the eastern Alps. Mountains are experiencing some of the highest rates of warming under anthropogenic climate change. In this issue, Manuel Steinbauer and his colleagues examine how plant species richness has changed over the past 145 years on 302 mountain summits across Europe. Using vegetation survey data, the researchers find that richness increased strongly on the vast majority of Europe’s summits over this period. They note, however, that the rate of increase has accelerated over time, with five times as much species enrichment occurring in the past decade compared with fifty years ago. Their analysis reveals a positive correlation between the magnitude of the increase in richness and the rate of warming, suggesting that climate-induced biotic change is accelerating even in remote places on Earth.

Cover image: Cajsa Nilsson/SLF, Switzerland

This Week

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News in Focus

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  • Technology Feature

    • Advances in gene editing are allowing researchers to create mouse models that more closely mirror the disease in humans.

      • Mike May


      Technology Feature
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  • Features

    • As big pharma downsizes, contract research organizations are reaping the benefits.

      • Esther Landhuis
      Career Feature
  • Columns

    • Work out what you really enjoy doing, and pitch your skills accordingly, says Lia Paola Zambetti.

      • Lia Paola Zambetti
      Career Column
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  • Time to play your part.

    • S. R. Algernon
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  • News & Views

    • Communication systems rely on random-number generators for the encryption of information. A method for producing truly random numbers even from untrustworthy devices could lead to improvements in security.

      • Stefano Pironio
      News & Views
    • Researchers have demonstrated that atomically thin materials can be highly reflective, contrary to general thinking. This finding could have technological implications for nanophotonics, optoelectronics and quantum optics.

      • Kin Fai Mak
      • Jie Shan
      News & Views
    • It is thought that plants sense water availability in the soil as a way of anticipating drought. The identification of a peptide expressed when water is scarce offers a chance to unravel the underlying molecular mechanism.

      • Alexander Christmann
      • Erwin Grill
      News & Views
    • Evidence suggests that the circulation system of the North Atlantic Ocean is in a weakened state that is unprecedented in the past 1,600 years, but questions remain as to when exactly the decline commenced.

      • Summer K. Praetorius
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    • Cell-tracing analysis reveals that a disperse group of cells in the mouse liver express the enzyme telomerase, which preserves chromosome ends. These cells contribute to liver maintenance and regeneration.

      • Kenneth S. Zaret
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    • The evolutionary history of viruses is largely unknown. Large-scale discovery of vertebrate RNA viruses shows that, although viruses often jump between hosts, most have co-evolved with their hosts over millions of years

      • Mark Zeller
      • Kristian G. Andersen
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  • Articles

    • Lithium-rich cathode materials in which manganese undergoes double redox could point the way for lithium-ion batteries to meet the capacity and energy density needs of portable electronics and electric vehicles.

      • Jinhyuk Lee
      • Daniil A. Kitchaev
      • Gerbrand Ceder
    • Around 200 new vertebrate-specific viruses are discovered, and every vertebrate-specific viral family known to infect mammals and birds is also present in amphibians, reptiles or fish, suggesting that evolution of vertebrate viruses mirrors that of vertebrate hosts.

      • Mang Shi
      • Xian-Dan Lin
      • Yong-Zhen Zhang
    • A cryo-electron microscopy structure of the light-harvesting–reaction centre (LH1–RC) complex of the photosynthetic bacterium Blastochloris viridis suggests factors that underlie the large redshift in the absorption spectrum of bacteriochlorophyll in the complex and that promote quinone–quinol translocation across the LH1 ring.

      • Pu Qian
      • C. Alistair Siebert
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    • The structure of the Thermochromatium tepidum calcium-ion-bound light-harvesting–reaction centre (LH1–RC) supercomplex, which performs the primary reactions of photosynthesis in purple photosynthetic bacteria, is resolved to the atomic level.

      • Long-Jiang Yu
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      • Jian-Ren Shen
    • Crystal structures of the gastric proton pump in complex with two inhibitory drugs reveal the mechanism that generates the steep acidic gradient across the membranes of parietal cells.

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      • Katsumasa Irie
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  • Letters

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  • To fight the disease effectively, researchers from across the scientific spectrum and beyond must join forces.

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