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Volume 610 Issue 7932, 20 October 2022


Racism casts a huge shadow on science. People of colour and from other historically marginalized groups have been excluded from the scientific enterprise, research has been used to underpin discriminatory thinking, and research outputs have ignored and further disadvantaged marginalized people. Nature has played its part in creating this divisive legacy. In this special issue – the first in the journal’s 153-year history to be overseen by guest editors — Melissa Nobles, Chad Womack, Ambroise Wonkam and Elizabeth Wathuti present articles that examine some of the ways racism has manifested in science, and the direct and detrimental effects this toxic ideology has had on individuals and their communities. By highlighting these issues, Nature aims to help build a more inclusive future for science, and society, in which people of all colours can thrive.

Cover image: Diana Ejaita

Racism in science

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This Week

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News in Focus

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  • News & Views

    • Evidence from turtles and computer models indicates that a pattern of neuronal activity known as rotational dynamics governs locomotion. The finding challenges long-standing models of locomotor control.

      • Martha W. Bagnall
      News & Views
    • Ancient genomic data have been retrieved for 13 Neanderthals from 2 caves in Siberia. The genomes provide unprecedented insights into the social organization of Neanderthal communities.

      • Lara M. Cassidy
      News & Views
    • The apparent motion of a flier’s surroundings is shown to stabilize its flight by providing information about its orientation. Lapses in information are overcome through the effects of sensor noise and body oscillations.

      • Graham K. Taylor
      News & Views
    • Echoing the hierarchical Linnaean system for naming species, ecologists have developed a definitive classification of Earth’s ecosystems. This feat, achieved by a massive effort, could anchor conservation efforts for decades to come.

      • Brian J. McGill
      • Stephanie N. Miller
      News & Views
    • A highly sensitive observation has revealed a large, diffuse gas feature centred on the galaxy group Stephan’s Quintet — prompting a revision of our understanding of gas dynamics in the outer regions of galaxy groups.

      • Julia Blue Bird
      News & Views
  • Articles

    • Atomic hydrogen observations in the vicinity of Stephan’s Quintet are reported, showing a large gaseous structure of around 0.6 Mpc in size in the velocity range of 6,550–6,750 km s1.

      • C. K. Xu
      • C. Cheng
      • F. Renaud
      Article Open Access
    • A matter-wave interferometer is demonstrated with an interferometric phase noise below the standard quantum limit, combining two core concepts of quantum mechanics, that a particle can simultaneously be in two places at once and entanglement between distinct particles.

      • Graham P. Greve
      • Chengyi Luo
      • James K. Thompson
      Article Open Access
    • Reduced dielectric screening in a free-standing heterobilayer results in higher formation efficiency of interlayer excitons and leads to strongly enhanced dipole–dipole interactions, enabling the observation of many-body correlations at the quantum limit.

      • Xueqian Sun
      • Yi Zhu
      • Yuerui Lu
    •  Mimicking traditional digital neural networks with DNA-encoded ‘enzymatic’ neurons overcomes issues with other chemical approaches, and could allow notable increases in miniaturization and molecular implementation of these AI models, with potential applications including DNA data storage or cancer diagnosis.

      • S. Okumura
      • G. Gines
      • A. J. Genot
    • For a minimal model system of colloidal droplet chains, with programmable DNA interactions, it is shown that controlling the order in which interactions are switched on directs folding into unique structures.

      • Angus McMullen
      • Maitane Muñoz Basagoiti
      • Jasna Brujic
    • The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Global Ecosystem Typology has been developed to provide a systematic framework for data on all of Earth’s ecosystems in a unified theoretical context to support biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services.

      • David A. Keith
      • José R. Ferrer-Paris
      • Richard T. Kingsford
      Article Open Access
    • Genetic data for 13 Neanderthals from 2 Middle Palaeolithic sites in the Altai Mountains of southern Siberia presented provide insights into the social organization of an isolated Neanderthal community at the easternmost extent of their known range.

      • Laurits Skov
      • Stéphane Peyrégne
      • Benjamin M. Peter
      Article Open Access
    • A study presents ensemble recordings of neurons in the lumbar spinal cord indicating that activity in spinal cord circuits for movement follows low-dimensional rotational dynamics, and proposes a theory of neural generation of movements.

      • Henrik Lindén
      • Peter C. Petersen
      • Rune W. Berg
    • Evolutionary conservation of plant receptor structure allowed for generation of new variants of wheat and barley nucleotide-binding leucine-rich repeat receptors (NLRs) that recognize AvrSr35 of the wheat stem rust pathogen, supporting proof of principle for structure-based engineering of NLRs for crop improvement.

      • Alexander Förderer
      • Ertong Li
      • Jijie Chai
      Article Open Access
    • Different pairs of antibiotics show qualitatively different bacterial clearance interactions—some pairs show reciprocal suppression whereby the drug mixture efficacy is weaker than the individual drugs alone, and the clearance efficacy decreases as more drugs are added.

      • Viktória Lázár
      • Olga Snitser
      • Roy Kishony
    • Nicotine accumulates in the intestine during tobacco smoking and accelerates the progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), but it can be degraded effectively by the human symbiont Bacteroides xylanisolvens.

      • Bo Chen
      • Lulu Sun
      • Changtao Jiang
    • The cryo-electron microscopy structure of NuA4 from Saccharomyces cerevisiae bound to the nucleosome illustrates how NuA4 is assembled and provides mechanistic insights into nucleosome recognition and transcription co-activation by a histone acetyltransferase.

      • Keke Qu
      • Kangjing Chen
      • Zhucheng Chen
    • The cryogenic-electron microscopy structure of the D. thermocuniculi IsrB protein in complex with its cognate ωRNA and a target DNA shows that the RNA-dominant IsrB effector complex shares a common scaffold with the protein-dominant Cas9 effector complex.

      • Seiichi Hirano
      • Kalli Kappel
      • Feng Zhang
      Article Open Access
  • Matters Arising

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Amendments & Corrections

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