Social networks predict the life and death of honey bees

Honey bee workers take on different tasks as they age. The authors study the individuals' social networks and show that interaction patterns predict task allocation and developmental trajectories.


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    Our editors highlight articles they see as particularly interesting or important in these new pages spanning all research areas.

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  • lava flowing from a mountain

    When nature strikes with force, the effects can be devastating. It is critically important to better study and understand natural hazards to help mitigate against their effects. In this collection, we focus on geological hazards such as volcanic eruptions, tectonic earthquakes and mass movements.


Latest Research articles

  • The poor bench stability of phosphoramidites is a drawback for fast automised chemical oligonucleotide synthesis. Here, the authors report a method for on-demand flow synthesis of phosphoramidites within short reaction times, in near-quantitative yields and sufficient purity for integration with DNA synthesizers.

    • Alexander F. Sandahl
    • Thuy J. D. Nguyen
    • Kurt V. Gothelf
    Article Open Access
  • The spatial distribution of the quantized transport due to the presence of Weyl orbits in topological semimetals remains elusive. Here, the authors report concomitant modulation of doubly-degenerate quantum Hall states, evidencing intrinsic coupling between two spatially separated surface states in the Weyl orbits of a Dirac semimetal film.

    • Shinichi Nishihaya
    • Masaki Uchida
    • Masashi Kawasaki
    Article Open Access
  • Photonic crystals have a range of desirable properties for manipulating light. Here, the authors calculate and use the photonic band gap for thousands of such crystals to examine heuristics for their design and predict new photonic crystal structures.

    • Rose K. Cersonsky
    • James Antonaglia
    • Sharon C. Glotzer
    Article Open Access

Subjects within Physical sciences

  • Determining attractive response strategies for international climate policy is a complex task. Here, the authors develop a meta-model that disentangles the main uncertainties using full literature ranges and use it to directly compare the insights of the cost-minimising and cost-benefit modelling communities.

    • Kaj-Ivar van der Wijst
    • Andries F. Hof
    • Detlef P. van Vuuren
    Article Open Access
  • The assessment of soil sustainability in prehistoric times requires comparing millennium-scale erosion rates with geological background rates. Here, the authors apply in situ cosmogenic 14C, 10Be, and 26Al to reveal rapid soil erosion on the Andean Altiplano in response to Late Holocene climate change and the onset of agropastoralism.

    • Kristina Hippe
    • John D. Jansen
    • David Lundbek Egholm
    Article Open Access
  • Phase equilibrium modelling combined with Ca isotope measurements in ancient granitoids demonstrates that subduction of oceanic crust occurred repeatedly throughout the Archaean and that carbonate sediments were present in early Eoarchaean oceans (>3.8 billion years).

    • Michael A. Antonelli
    • Jillian Kendrick
    • Frédéric Moynier
    Article Open Access

Subjects within Earth and environmental sciences

  • Clonal evolution in multiple myeloma (MM) needs to be understood in both the tumor and its microenvironment. Here the authors perform single-cell multi-omics profiling of samples from MM patients at different stages, finding transitions in the immune cell composition throughout progression.

    • Ruiyang Liu
    • Qingsong Gao
    • Li Ding
    Article Open Access
  • Dopamine neurons in the mushroom body help Drosophila learn to approach rewards and avoid punishments. Here, the authors propose a model in which dopaminergic learning signals encode reinforcement prediction errors by utilising feedback reinforcement predictions from mushroom body output neurons.

    • James E. M. Bennett
    • Andrew Philippides
    • Thomas Nowotny
    Article Open Access
  • Selection on alleles contributing to human evolution is not well understood. Here, the authors investigate positive selection on skin barrier adaptation, identifying a selective sweep on involucrin alleles associated with migration out of Africa, and confirming enhancer regulatory effects with functional assays.

    • Mary Elizabeth Mathyer
    • Erin A. Brettmann
    • Cristina de Guzman Strong
    Article Open Access
  • Studying how songbirds learn songs can shed light on the development of human speech. An analysis of 160 tutor-pupil zebra finch pairs suggests that frequency dependent balanced imitation prevents the extinction of rare song elements and the overabundance of common ones, promoting song diversity within groups and species recognition across groups.

    • Ofer Tchernichovski
    • Sophie Eisenberg-Edidin
    • Erich D. Jarvis
    Article Open Access
  • The genomic organization and origin of the avenacin biosynthetic gene cluster remain unknown. Here, the authors assemble the genome of diploid oat Avena strigosa, reveal the structure and organization of the consecutive genes, characterize the last two missing pathway steps, and investigate the origin of the pathway in cereals.

    • Yan Li
    • Aymeric Leveau
    • Anne Osbourn
    Article Open Access

Subjects within Biological sciences

Subjects within Health sciences

Subjects within Scientific community and society

  • Photocatalytic air purification is a promising technology that mimics nature’s photochemical process, but its practical applications are still limited despite considerable research efforts in recent decades. Here, we briefly discuss the progress and challenges associated with this technology.

    • Fei He
    • Woojung Jeon
    • Wonyong Choi
    Comment Open Access
  • Transient transfections are routinely used in basic and synthetic biology studies to unravel pathway regulation and to probe and characterise circuit designs. As each experiment has a component of intrinsic variability, reporter gene expression is usually normalized with co-delivered genes that act as transfection controls. Recent reports in mammalian cells highlight how resource competition for gene expression leads to biases in data interpretation, with a direct impact on co-transfection experiments. Here we define the connection between resource competition and transient transfection experiments and discuss possible alternatives. Our aim is to raise awareness within the community and stimulate discussion to include such considerations in future experimental designs, for the development of better transfection controls.

    • Roberto Di Blasi
    • Masue M. Marbiah
    • Francesca Ceroni
    Comment Open Access
  • Singleton and colleagues publish in Nature Communications an intervention study to reduce antimicrobial usage in companion animal practice. They identify significant reductions in antimicrobial usage with their more active intervention group over approximately a 6-month period. The study offers an exciting way forward to explore further the trial interventions and assess alternative methods to improve antimicrobial stewardship in veterinary practice.

    • David Brodbelt
    Comment Open Access
  • Precise knowledge of chemical composition and atomic structure of functional nanosized systems, such as metal clusters stabilized by an organic molecular layer, allows for detailed computational work to investigate structure-property relations. Here, we discuss selected recent examples of computational work that has advanced understanding of how these clusters work in catalysis, how they interact with biological systems, and how they can make self-assembled, macroscopic materials. A growing challenge is to develop effective new simulation methods that take into account the cluster-environment interactions. These new hybrid methods are likely to contain components from electronic structure theory combined with machine learning algorithms for accelerated evaluations of atom-atom interactions.

    • Sami Malola
    • Hannu Häkkinen
    Comment Open Access
  • Equitable partnerships among the international volcano science community are important now more than ever, to cope with financial disparities and ultimately allow for worldwide volcano monitoring oriented to hazard mitigation.

    Editorial Open Access
  • The various restrictions applied across the globe to contain the COVID-19 pandemic have been impacting the way we knew how to work. Dr. Matthews (a scientific program manager at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke—NINDS), Dr. David del Álamo Rodriguez (head of the European Molecular Biology Organization—EMBO—fellowship program), and Dr. Gray (Associate Dean for the Sciences at the Advanced Science Research Center of the City University of New York) shared with Nature Communications their thoughts on how funders and university leadership can support early career researchers and young faculty through the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Q&A Open Access
Stem cells

Stem cells

Here, we highlight selected work employing stem cells to provide insight into development genetics/epigenetics, physiology, reprogramming, regeneration, and disease, as well as translational and clinical applications including drug screening and transplantation.

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