Volume 576

  • No. 7787 19 December 2019

    One year, ten stories

    As 2019 draws to a close, we once again select Nature’s 10 — ten people who mattered in science this year. The cover image depicts radiation from an astronomical mystery known as a fast radio burst against a background of stars and galaxies. A number of instruments — especially those in the Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder — have detected hundreds of these bursts and are helping to solve the puzzle of their origin.

    Career Guide

    Events Guide

  • No. 7786 12 December 2019

    Staring at the Sun

    The cover shows an artist’s impression of NASA’s Parker Solar Probe in front of the Sun. The probe is on a seven-year mission to investigate the Sun’s corona and solar wind. In this week’s issue, the Parker Solar Probe team presents the first results from the mission in four papers, revealing fresh insight into the origins and dynamics of the young solar wind and the physics of high-energy particles. Stuart Bale and his colleagues find that there are rapid, large-scale reversals in the direction of the Sun’s magnetic field on a variety of timescales. Justin Kasper and his co-workers suggest that localized increases in the radial plasma velocity directed away from Sun’s centre are often associated with these reversals, and also find evidence that the plasma partially co-rotates with the Sun to distances farther from Sun’s centre than predicted. David McComas and his colleagues analyse the energetic ions and electrons from explosive phenomena measured near the Sun, providing insights into particle energization and acceleration near stellar bodies. Russell Howard and his co-workers report on the intensity of dust-scattered light, including some preliminary evidence that a hypothesized dust-free zone near the Sun may actually exist.

    Nature Index

    Materials science

  • No. 7785 5 December 2019

    Genomes from Asia

    To date, human genetic studies have focused largely on Europeans, which has limited the diversity of individuals represented in the genetic data sets. With a plan to sequence and analyse the genomes of 100,000 Asian individuals, the GenomeAsia 100K project aims to play a major part in plugging that gap. In this week’s issue, the consortium presents the data from the pilot phase of the project: a whole-genome reference data set from 1,739 individuals of 219 population groups and 64 countries across Asia. The researchers use the data to catalogue genetic variation, population structure and disease associations. They also find that Asia has sizeable founder populations, where groups have broken away from the original population to form a new one, and suggest further study of these could help identify genes associated with rare diseases.

    Innovations In

    The DNA drug revolution