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  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Many newly-discovered microbial phyla have been studied solely by cultivation-independent techniques such as metagenomics. Much of their biology thus remains elusive, because the organisms have not yet been isolated and grown in the lab. Katayama et al. lift the curtain on some intriguing biology by cultivating and studying bacteria from the elusive OP9 phylum (Atribacterota).

    • Muriel C. F. van Teeseling
    •  & Christian Jogler
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    It would be unwise to assume ‘conventional’ lithium-ion batteries are approaching the end of their era and so we discuss current strategies to improve the current and next generation systems, where a holistic approach will be needed to unlock higher energy density while also maintaining lifetime and safety. We end by briefly reviewing areas where fundamental science advances will be needed to enable revolutionary new battery systems.

    • Clare P. Grey
    •  & David S. Hall
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Arctic research faces unprecedented disruptions due to COVID-19. This ‘pause’ gives an opportunity to reflect on the current state and the future of Arctic science and move towards a more resilient, thus equitable, coordinated, safe and locally-embedded Arctic research enterprise. Arctic science has been greatly affected by COVID-19. This comment looks forward to how Arctic science could be conducted in the future.

    • Andrey N. Petrov
    • , Larry D. Hinzman
    • , Lars Kullerud
    • , Tatiana S. Degai
    • , Liisa Holmberg
    • , Allen Pope
    •  & Alona Yefimenko
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Rapidly advancing genomic technologies and cross-disciplinary partnerships are accelerating the biological and clinical interpretation of genome-wide association studies, with some therapies developed based on these findings already being tested in clinical trials. The next decade promises further progress in understanding the function of genetic variants.

    • Florence Lichou
    •  & Gosia Trynka
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Extreme heat adversely affects human health, productivity, and well-being, with more frequent and intense heatwaves projected to increase exposures. However, current risk projections oversimplify critical inter-individual factors of human thermoregulation, resulting in unreliable and unrealistic estimates of future adverse health outcomes.

    • Jennifer K. Vanos
    • , Jane W. Baldwin
    • , Ollie Jay
    •  & Kristie L. Ebi
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Electrochemical carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction has the potential to sustainably produce carbon-based fuels and chemicals while mitigating the increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. In this comment, the author discusses a few basic concepts in the fundamental mechanistic studies of electrochemical CO2 reduction.

    • Karen Chan
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Over the past 15 years, genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have generated a wealth of new information. Larger samples sizes, refined phenotypes and higher-resolution genome-screens will continue to drive gene discovery in years ahead. Meanwhile, GWAS loci are increasingly translated into new biology and opportunities for clinical care.

    • Ruth J. F. Loos
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Scientists increasingly post images and photos on social media to share their research activities. However, posting images and photos could potentially exclude people with visual impairments. Here, we outline actions that should be taken to foster accessibility and inclusion in posting scientific images on social media.

    • Domenico Chiarella
    • , Justin Yarbrough
    •  & Christopher A.-L. Jackson
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Gene therapy is at an inflection point. Recent successes in genetic medicine have paved the path for a broader second wave of therapies and laid the foundation for next-generation technologies. This comment summarizes recent advances and expectations for the near future.

    • Karen Bulaklak
    •  & Charles A. Gersbach
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Early studies of weather, seasonality, and environmental influences on COVID-19 have yielded inconsistent and confusing results. To provide policy-makers and the public with meaningful and actionable environmentally-informed COVID-19 risk estimates, the research community must meet robust methodological and communication standards.

    • Benjamin F. Zaitchik
    • , Neville Sweijd
    • , Joy Shumake-Guillemot
    • , Andy Morse
    • , Chris Gordon
    • , Aileen Marty
    • , Juli Trtanj
    • , Juerg Luterbacher
    • , Joel Botai
    • , Swadhin Behera
    • , Yonglong Lu
    • , Jane Olwoch
    • , Ken Takahashi
    • , Jennifer D. Stowell
    •  & Xavier Rodó
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    The importance of statistical analyses on 2D materials-based electronic devices and circuits is sometimes overlooked. Here the authors discuss the most pressing integration issues for such devices and emphasize the need for yield, variability, reliability, and stability benchmarking, and outline viable strategies resulting in research papers that are useful for the industry.

    • Mario Lanza
    • , Quentin Smets
    • , Cedric Huyghebaert
    •  & Lain-Jong Li
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Classic debates concerning the extent to which scientists can predict evolution have gained new urgency as environmental changes force species to adapt or risk extinction. We highlight how our ability to predict evolution can be constrained by data limitations that cause poor understanding of deterministic natural selection. We then emphasize how such data limits can be reduced with feasible empirical effort involving a combination of approaches.

    • Patrik Nosil
    • , Samuel M. Flaxman
    • , Jeffrey L. Feder
    •  & Zachariah Gompert
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Low-temperature carbon dioxide electrolysis is an attractive process for sustainable fuel synthesis, but current systems suffer from low efficiency. In this comment, authors discuss the limitations arising from the reaction between carbon dioxide and hydroxide, highlighting the need for new research to address this fundamental problem.

    • Joshua A. Rabinowitz
    •  & Matthew W. Kanan
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    The human body supports a thriving diversity of microbes which comprise a dynamic, ancillary, functional system that synergistically develops in lock-step with physiological development of its host. The human microbiome field has transitioned from cataloging this rich diversity to dissecting molecular mechanisms by which microbiomes influence human health. Early life microbiome development trains immune function. Thus, vertically, horizontally, and environmentally acquired microbes and their metabolites have the potential to shape developmental trajectories with life-long implications for health.

    • Elze Rackaityte
    •  & Susan V. Lynch
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Synthetic biology is among the most hyped research topics this century, and in 2010 it entered its teenage years. But rather than these being a problematic time, we’ve seen synthetic biology blossom and deliver many new technologies and landmark achievements.

    • Fankang Meng
    •  & Tom Ellis
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Protected areas (PAs) are the most important conservation tool, yet assessing their effectiveness is remarkably challenging. We clarify the links between the many facets of PA effectiveness, from evaluating the means, to analysing the mechanisms, to directly measuring biodiversity outcomes.

    • Ana S. L. Rodrigues
    •  & Victor Cazalis
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Myelinating Schwann cells control the diameter of the axons they ensheath by an unknown mechanism. In a recent article in Nature Communications, Eichel and colleagues identify the tetraspan protein CMTM6 as a regulator of axonal caliber.

    • Nimrod Elazar
    •  & Elior Peles
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    A large-scale screening campaign has yielded dozens of crystal structures of small molecule fragments that bind to the main protease of SARS-CoV-2. The global research community is encouraged to pursue these as drug discovery starting points for COVID-19.

    • Daniel A. Erlanson
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    In the next decade, advances in our understanding of microbes and microbiomes will likely transform our way of life; providing novel therapeutics, alternate energy sources, and shaping fundamental doctrines of biology. We explore the promises herein, and tools required to achieve this progress. Notably, it is critical that we improve the inclusivity and diversity of our research agendas and teams, so that science benefits people of all identities and backgrounds.

    • Aravind Natarajan
    •  & Ami S. Bhatt
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    In light of the surging research on porous organic materials, we herein discuss the key issues of their porous structures, surface properties, and end functions. We also present an outlook on emerging opportunities, new applications, and data science-assisted materials discovery.

    • Tianyu Liu
    •  & Guoliang Liu
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Research on porous materials has produced intriguing novel materials in terms of composition, porosity and structures recently. This perspective aims to provide a short overview on some of the highlights reported within the last decade in this field.

    • Arne Thomas
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Decision makers must have sufficient confidence in models if they are to influence their decisions. We propose three screening questions to critically evaluate models with respect to their purpose, organization, and evidence. They enable a more transparent, robust, and secure use of model outputs.

    • Volker Grimm
    • , Alice S. A. Johnston
    • , H.-H. Thulke
    • , V. E. Forbes
    •  & P. Thorbek
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Over the last decade, we have witnessed the emergence of ever more machine learning applications in all aspects of the chemical sciences. Here, we highlight specific achievements of machine learning models in the field of computational chemistry by considering selected studies of electronic structure, interatomic potentials, and chemical compound space in chronological order.

    • O. Anatole von Lilienfeld
    •  & Kieron Burke
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Bayesian brain theories suggest that perception, action and cognition arise as animals minimise the mismatch between their expectations and reality. This principle could unify cognitive science with the broader natural sciences, but leave key elements of cognition and behaviour unexplained.

    • Daniel Yon
    • , Cecilia Heyes
    •  & Clare Press
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Single cell transcriptomics technologies have vast potential in advancing our understanding of biology and disease. Here, Sarah Aldridge and Sarah Teichmann review the last decade of technological advancements in single-cell transcriptomics and highlight some of the recent discoveries enabled by this technology.

    • Sarah Aldridge
    •  & Sarah A. Teichmann
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Knowing about the diversity of planetary processes is of paramount importance for understanding our planet Earth. An integrated, comparative planetology approach is required to combine space missions, autonomous surface exploration, sample return laboratories, and after-mission data exploitation.

    • Karl-Heinz Glassmeier
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Controlling the hybridization of single atoms in suitable host materials opens unique opportunities for catalyst design, but equally faces many challenges. Here, we highlight emerging directions from the last, highly productive, decade in single-atom catalysis and identify frontiers for future research.

    • Sharon Mitchell
    •  & Javier Pérez-Ramírez
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Weather may marginally affect COVID-19 dynamics, but misconceptions about the way that climate and weather drive exposure and transmission have adversely shaped risk perceptions for both policymakers and citizens. Future scientific work on this politically-fraught topic needs a more careful approach.

    • Colin J. Carlson
    • , Ana C. R. Gomez
    • , Shweta Bansal
    •  & Sadie J. Ryan
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    The Montreal Protocol has begun to heal the Antarctic ozone hole and avoided more global warming than any other treaty. Still, recent research shows that new unexpected emissions of several chlorofluorocarbons, carbon tetrachloride, and hydrofluorocarbons, are undermining the Protocol’s success. It is time for policymakers to plug the holes in the ozone hole treaty.

    • Susan Solomon
    • , Joseph Alcamo
    •  & A. R. Ravishankara
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    A clinical trial published in Nature Communications examined the effect of fasting-mimicking diet (FMD) during chemotherapy in breast cancer patients. The overall negative study results highlight the need for ameliorating future trial design and investigating alternative FMD-based therapeutic combinations.

    • Claudio Vernieri
    • , Francesca Ligorio
    • , Emma Zattarin
    • , Licia Rivoltini
    •  & Filippo de Braud
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    There is an urgent need for drugs, therapies and vaccines to be available to protect the human population against COVID-19. One of the first approaches taken in the COVID-19 global response was to consider repurposing licensed drugs. This commentary highlights an extraordinary international collaborative effort of independent researchers who have recently all come to the same conclusion—that chloroquine or hydroxchloroquine are unlikely to provide clinical benefit against COVID-19.

    • S. G. P. Funnell
    • , W. E. Dowling
    • , C. Muñoz-Fontela
    • , P.-S. Gsell
    • , D. E. Ingber
    • , G. A. Hamilton
    • , L. Delang
    • , J. Rocha-Pereira
    • , S. Kaptein
    • , K. H. Dallmeier
    • , J. Neyts
    • , K. Rosenke
    • , E. de Wit
    • , H. Feldmann
    • , P. Maisonnasse
    • , R. Le Grand
    • , M. B. Frieman
    •  & C. M. Coleman
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Discovering chemicals with desired attributes is a long and painstaking process. Curated datasets containing reliable quantum-mechanical properties for millions of molecules are becoming increasingly available. The development of novel machine learning tools to obtain chemical knowledge from these datasets has the potential to revolutionize the process of chemical discovery. Here, I comment on recent breakthroughs in this emerging field and discuss the challenges for the years to come.

    • Alexandre Tkatchenko
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Climate science and climate economics are critical sources of expertise in our pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals. Effective use of this expertise requires a strengthening of its epistemic foundations and a renewed focus on more practical policy problems.

    • David A. Stainforth
    •  & Raphael Calel
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Immunotherapy using immune-checkpoint modulators revolutionizes the oncology field far beyond their remarkable clinical efficacy in some patients. It creates radical changes in the evaluation of treatment efficacy and toxicity with a more holistic vision of the patient with cancer.

    • Caroline Robert
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Organocatalysis has become a major pillar of (asymmetric) catalysis. Here, the authors discuss recent trends in organocatalytic activation modes for challenging stereoselective transformations and the emerging integration with other fields, such as photoredox catalysis and electrosynthesis.

    • Shao-Hua Xiang
    •  & Bin Tan
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    As investment in urban conservation grows, researchers must balance the needs of residents and conservation targets. We discuss some of the challenges we have encountered and the importance of taking a transdisciplinary approach informed by design and social knowledge.

    • Katherine J. Turo
    •  & Mary M. Gardiner
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    After two decades of steady growing, symbiotic merger of organocatalysis with emerging electrochemical and photochemical tools are envisioned as hot topics in the coming decade. Here, these trends are discussed in parallel to the implementation of artificial intelligence-based technologies, which anticipate a paradigm shift in catalyst design.

    • José M. Lassaletta
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Niche hijack by malignant cells is considered to be a prominent cause of disease relapse. Barbier and colleagues uncover (E)-selectin as a novel mediator of malignant cell survival and regeneration which, upon blockade, has the potential to significantly improve therapeutic outcomes.

    • Myriam L. R. Haltalli
    •  & Cristina Lo Celso
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Many biomaterials have been developed which aim to match the elastic modulus of the brain for improved interfacing. However, other properties such as ultimate toughness, tensile strength, poroviscoelastic responses, energy dissipation, conductivity, and mass diffusivity also need to be considered.

    • Eneko Axpe
    • , Gorka Orive
    • , Kristian Franze
    •  & Eric A. Appel
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    As Nature Communications celebrates a 10-year anniversary, the field has witnessed the transition of cancer immunotherapy from a pipe dream to an established powerful cancer treatment modality. Here we discuss the opportunities and challenges for the future.

    • Amanda Finck
    • , Saar I. Gill
    •  & Carl H. June
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    The timing of cancer metastasis has implications for treatment and prevention. Traditional forward-time views of metastasis assume it occurs late during evolution. However, looking backward in time reveals metastasis often occurs prior to clinical detection of primary tumors.

    • Zheng Hu
    •  & Christina Curtis
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists around the globe have been working resolutely to find therapies to treat patients and avert the spreading of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. In this commentary, we highlight some of the latest studies that provide atomic-resolution structural details imperative for the development of vaccines and antiviral therapeutics.

    • Yi Zhang
    •  & Tatiana G. Kutateladze
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Since its arrival at Jupiter in 2016, NASA’s Juno spacecraft has been performing high-precision measurement of the gravity and magnetic fields. When combined with numerical simulations, they provide a unique window to the dynamics in the planet’s deep atmosphere.

    • Johannes Wicht
    •  & Thomas Gastine
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Time horizons for nuclear materials development and qualification must be shortened to realize future nuclear energy concepts. Inspired by the Materials Genome Initiative, we present an integrated approach to materials discovery and qualification to insert new materials into service.

    • Jeffery A. Aguiar
    • , Andrea M. Jokisaari
    • , Matthew Kerr
    •  & R. Allen Roach
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    The 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino for their contributions in the development of lithium-ion batteries, a technology that has revolutionized our way of life. Here we look back at the milestone discoveries that have shaped the modern lithium-ion batteries for inspirational insights to guide future breakthroughs.

    • Jing Xie
    •  & Yi-Chun Lu