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Volume 592 Issue 7855, 22 April 2021

Death of a star

The cover shows the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A. In the past few years, simulations have suggested that neutrinos might drive the explosion mechanism that leads to core-collapse supernovae such as Cassiopeia A. In this week’s issue, Toshiki Sato and his colleagues provide observational evidence that supports this mechanism. The researchers examined the iron-rich fingers of gas that protrude from Cassiopeia A and observed that they contain stable titanium and chromium. The abundances of these elements relative to iron mean that they must have formed in neutrino-driven plumes that helped to trigger the explosion that created the supernova.

Cover image: X-ray: NASA/CXC/RIKEN & GSFC/T. Sato et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI.

This Week

News in Focus

Books & Arts




    News & Views

  • News & Views |

    In the eye, the transparent lens focuses light on the retina. This transparency is achieved during lens development by a newly identified mechanism — whole organelles are destroyed by the degradation of their lipid membranes.

    • Patricia Boya
  • News & Views |

    Inflatable, metre-scale origami structures have been designed to transform from flat structures into expanded forms and then to lock into their new shape. This technology opens the way to the use of large origami structures for engineering.

    • Sigrid Adriaenssens
  • News & Views |

    An analysis of the costs of climate change caused by adding one tonne of methane to the atmosphere finds that high-income regions of the world should spend much more on efforts to lower such emissions than should low-income regions.

    • James K. Hammitt
  • Reviews

  • Review Article |

    Ongoing global warming is likely to cause tipping point thresholds to be passed, but an abrupt system change can still be avoided if the warming is reversed quickly relative to the timescale of the tipping element.

    • Paul D. L. Ritchie
    • Joseph J. Clarke
    • Chris Huntingford
  • Review Article |

    This Review discusses recent research that has transformed our understanding of the biology of atherosclerosis, and examines its implications for the treatment of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

    • Peter Libby
  • Articles

  • Article |

    The orientation of a rotating para-xylene molecule in the nanochannel of a zeolite framework can be visualised by electron microscopy to determine the host–guest van der Waals interaction inside the channel.

    • Boyuan Shen
    • Xiao Chen
    • Fei Wei
  • Article |

    Origami-inspired multistable structures that can be inflated from flat to three dimensions have been designed; a library of foldable shapes is created and then combined to build metre-scale functional structures.

    • David Melancon
    • Benjamin Gorissen
    • Katia Bertoldi
  • Article |

    Analysis of the InvaCost database shows that the costs of biological invasions have markedly increased between 1970 and 2017 and show no sign of slowing down, highlighting the importance of evidence-based and cost-effective management actions.

    • Christophe Diagne
    • Boris Leroy
    • Franck Courchamp
  • Article |

    Fossiomanus sinensis and Jueconodon cheni, a newly described Early Cretaceous tritylodontid and eutriconodotan, respectively, show convergence on a fossorial body plan and provide insights into the evolution of the axial skeleton in mammaliamorphs.

    • Fangyuan Mao
    • Chi Zhang
    • Jin Meng
  • Article |

    Genomic analyses of human populations in the Pacific provide insights into the peopling history of the region and reveal episodes of biological adaptation relating to the immune system and lipid metabolism through introgression from archaic hominins and polygenic adaptation.

    • Jeremy Choin
    • Javier Mendoza-Revilla
    • Lluis Quintana-Murci
  • Article |

    In Staphylococcus epidermidis and Staphylococcus aureus, non-specific DNase activity of the type III-A CRISPR–Cas system increases the rate of mutations in the host and accelerates the evolution of resistance to antibiotics and to phage.

    • Charlie Y. Mo
    • Jacob Mathai
    • Luciano A. Marraffini
  • Article |

    The Moderna (mRNA-1273) and Pfizer–BioNTech (BNT162b2) vaccines elicit anti-RBD antibodies similar to those elicited through natural infection with SARS-CoV-2, but their potent neutralizing activity was reduced or abolished by new viral variants of concern.

    • Zijun Wang
    • Fabian Schmidt
    • Michel C. Nussenzweig
  • Article |

    In the eye lens of zebrafish and mice, the phospholipases Plaat1 and PLAAT3, respectively, are essential for macroautophagy-independent organelle degradation that produces an organelle-free zone and achieves optimal transparency.

    • Hideaki Morishita
    • Tomoya Eguchi
    • Noboru Mizushima

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