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Volume 580 Issue 7801, 2 April 2020

Polar opposite

The cover shows an artist’s impression of the temperate rainforest that existed in West Antarctica some 90 million years ago. The mid-Cretaceous period basked in some of the warmest temperatures of the past 140 million years and there has been much debate over whether polar ice could exist at such elevated temperatures. In this week’s issue, Johann Klages and his colleagues present their analysis of a sedimentary sequence from the West Antarctic shelf and show that a temperate rainforest-like ecosystem existed in West Antarctica during the Turonian–Santonian age (92 million to 83 million years ago). The cored sediments feature a 3-metre-long network of fossil roots embedded in a mudstone matrix bearing diverse pollen and spores. A climate model to reconstruct the climate for the forest suggests that Antarctica would have been free of ice and that the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration was 1,120–1,680 parts per million, much more than the 407 parts per million of today.

Cover image: Alfred Wegener Institute/J. McKay, CC-BY 4.0

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  • News & Views

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      • Radek Cibulka
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    • Visualization of the rhythmic oscillations of the mouse and human segmentation clocks, which are crucial to spine development, is now possible thanks to the development of sophisticated cell-culture systems.

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      • Helen Blau
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    • Satellite tracking of marine predators in the Southern Ocean has revealed key ecological areas under disproportionate pressure from human activities. These results show the value of tracking data for informing conservation efforts.

      • Ana M. M. Sequeira
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    • Cell death by a process called apoptosis inhibits inflammation in surrounding tissue. The finding that dying apoptotic cells release a tailored cocktail of metabolite molecules reveals a way in which they influence their living neighbours.

      • Douglas R. Green
      News & Views
    • The principle of mirror symmetry, which states that nuclear structure remains the same when protons are swapped for neutrons and vice versa, has been found to be broken in the lowest-energy forms of a mirror pair of nuclei.

      • Bertram Blank
      News & Views
  • Reviews

    • Analyses of the recovery of marine populations, habitats and ecosystems following past conservation interventions indicate that substantial recovery of the abundance, structure and function of marine life could be achieved by 2050 if major pressures, including climate change, are mitigated.

      • Carlos M. Duarte
      • Susana Agusti
      • Boris Worm
      Review Article
  • Articles

    • Observations of the decay of 73Sr, when compared to its mirror nucleus 73Br, indicate that the spin assignment of their ground states differ, demonstrating mirror-symmetry violation.

      • D. E. M. Hoff
      • A. M. Rogers
      • S. Waniganeththi
    • Coupling the spins of many nitrogen–vacancy centres in a trapped diamond to its orientation produces a spin-dependent torque and spin-cooling of the motion of the diamond.

      • T. Delord
      • P. Huillery
      • G. Hétet
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      • Babak Mahjour
      • Yuning Shen
      • Tim Cernak
    • Photoexcited acridine radical catalysts are found to have redox potentials more reducing than lithium, which is attributed to the population of higher-energy doublet excited states via a twisted intramolecular charge-transfer species.

      • Ian A. MacKenzie
      • Leifeng Wang
      • David A. Nicewicz
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      • Mark A. Hindell
      • Ryan R. Reisinger
      • Ben Raymond
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      • Jing Li
      • Chuanliang Xu
      • Yinghao Sun
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      • Oleg I. Rumyantsev
      • Jérôme A. Lecoq
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      • Margarete Diaz-Cuadros
      • Daniel E. Wagner
      • Olivier Pourquié
    • Monitoring cells of the mouse presomitic mesoderm using the Achilles reporter fused to HES7 sheds light on the mechanisms that underpin synchronous oscillations in the expression of clock genes between neighbouring cells.

      • Kumiko Yoshioka-Kobayashi
      • Marina Matsumiya
      • Ryoichiro Kageyama
    • A system involving in vitro induction of presomitic mesoderm recapitulates oscillatory expression of core segmentation clock genes and travelling-wave-like gene expression, suggesting that this system can be used to study the human segmentation clock and provide insights into diseases associated with human axial skeletogenesis.

      • Mitsuhiro Matsuda
      • Yoshihiro Yamanaka
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      • Christopher B. Medina
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    • Long noncoding RNAs and certain unstable transcripts tend to localize to chromatin, in a process that is shown here to depend on an RNA motif that recognizes the small nuclear ribonuclear protein U1, and to rely on transcription.

      • Yafei Yin
      • J. Yuyang Lu
      • Xiaohua Shen
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