Perspectives

  • Perspective
    | Open Access

    Existing approaches to research impact assessment fail to include a range of soft impacts. The authors present a 3-part impact mapping approach and apply it to an environmental initiative. They highlight that support for realising research impact is vital, and call on researchers to be open to new ideas and avenues for creating impact from their work.

    • Kirstie A. Fryirs
    • , Gary J. Brierley
    •  & Thom Dixon
  • Perspective
    | Open Access

    The role of Blue Carbon in climate change mitigation and adaptation has now reached international prominence. Here the authors identified the top-ten unresolved questions in the field and find that most questions relate to the precise role blue carbon can play in mitigating climate change and the most effective management actions in maximising this.

    • Peter I. Macreadie
    • , Andrea Anton
    • , John A. Raven
    • , Nicola Beaumont
    • , Rod M. Connolly
    • , Daniel A. Friess
    • , Jeffrey J. Kelleway
    • , Hilary Kennedy
    • , Tomohiro Kuwae
    • , Paul S. Lavery
    • , Catherine E. Lovelock
    • , Dan A. Smale
    • , Eugenia T. Apostolaki
    • , Trisha B. Atwood
    • , Jeff Baldock
    • , Thomas S. Bianchi
    • , Gail L. Chmura
    • , Bradley D. Eyre
    • , James W. Fourqurean
    • , Jason M. Hall-Spencer
    • , Mark Huxham
    • , Iris E. Hendriks
    • , Dorte Krause-Jensen
    • , Dan Laffoley
    • , Tiziana Luisetti
    • , Núria Marbà
    • , Pere Masque
    • , Karen J. McGlathery
    • , J. Patrick Megonigal
    • , Daniel Murdiyarso
    • , Bayden D. Russell
    • , Rui Santos
    • , Oscar Serrano
    • , Brian R. Silliman
    • , Kenta Watanabe
    •  & Carlos M. Duarte
  • Perspective
    | Open Access

    The mechanism by which macromolecular catalysts use energy from exergonic reactions to move, adapt, and assemble has been unclear. In this Perspective article, R. Dean Astumian shows that in addition to disequilibrium of the catalyzed reaction, kinetic asymmetry is the essential feature required to drive non-equilibrium response by an information ratchet mechanism.

    • R. Dean Astumian
  • Perspective
    | Open Access

    Recent gains in artificial neural networks rely heavily on large amounts of training data. Here, the author suggests that for AI to learn from animal brains, it is important to consider that animal behaviour results from brain connectivity specified in the genome through evolution, and not due to unique learning algorithms.

    • Anthony M. Zador
  • Perspective
    | Open Access

    Non-traditional antibacterial agents are challenging to develop. In this Perspective, the authors argue that the distinction between traditional and non-traditional agents has only limited relevance for regulatory purposes, although products with non-traditional goals focused on population-level benefits might benefit from extension of current paradigms.

    • John H. Rex
    • , Holly Fernandez Lynch
    • , I. Glenn Cohen
    • , Jonathan J. Darrow
    •  & Kevin Outterson
  • Perspective
    | Open Access

    No effective therapies exist for dry age-related macular degeneration. In this perspective, the authors propose that research should emphasize system biology approaches that integrate various ‘omics’ data into mathematical models to establish pathogenic mechanisms on which to design novel treatments, and identify biomarkers that predict disease progression and therapeutic response.

    • James T. Handa
    • , Cathy Bowes Rickman
    • , Andrew D. Dick
    • , Michael B. Gorin
    • , Joan W. Miller
    • , Cynthia A. Toth
    • , Marius Ueffing
    • , Marco Zarbin
    •  & Lindsay A. Farrer
  • Perspective
    | Open Access

    Lack of best practice guidelines currently limits the application of metabolomics in the regulatory sciences. Here, the MEtabolomics standaRds Initiative in Toxicology (MERIT) proposes methods and reporting standards for several important applications of metabolomics in regulatory toxicology.

    • Mark R. Viant
    • , Timothy M. D. Ebbels
    • , Richard D. Beger
    • , Drew R. Ekman
    • , David J. T. Epps
    • , Hennicke Kamp
    • , Pim E. G. Leonards
    • , George D. Loizou
    • , James I. MacRae
    • , Bennard van Ravenzwaay
    • , Philippe Rocca-Serra
    • , Reza M. Salek
    • , Tilmann Walk
    •  & Ralf J. M. Weber
  • Perspective
    | Open Access

    There are several lines of evidence for interactions between the two membrane leaflets in cells. In this review the authors discuss the transmembrane coupling of lipids, the involvement of phosphatidyl serine species PS 18:0/18:1, and their importance for various cellular processes.

    • Tore Skotland
    •  & Kirsten Sandvig
  • Perspective
    | Open Access

    Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in 2017 and resulted in a complete loss of activity of the Public Health Laboratories. Here, the authors discuss the approach taken and tools developed to re-establish activity in these laboratories using a quality management system and the lessons learned in this process.

    • Margaret C. Hardy
    • , Rita C. Stinnett
    • , Kristine J. Kines
    • , Danisha M. Rivera-Nazario
    • , David E. Lowe
    • , Alexandra M. Mercante
    • , Nathalie Gonzalez Jimenez
    • , Rosa I. Cuevas Ruiz
    • , Héctor I. Rivera Arbolay
    • , Rafael L. Gonzalez Peña
    • , Mayra Toro
    • , Alma A. Trujillo
    • , Claudia L. Pappas
    • , Anna C. Llewellyn
    • , Francisco Candal
    • , María Burgos Garay
    • , Gerardo A. Gomez
    • , Jeniffer Concepcion Acevedo
    • , Marisela Ansbro
    • , Hercules Moura
    • , Michael W. Shaw
    • , Atis Muehlenbachs
    • , Lovisa C. Romanoff
    • , Brittany J. Sunshine
    • , Dale A. Rose
    • , Anita Patel
    • , Craig N. Shapiro
    • , S. Carolina Luna-Pinto
    • , Satish K. Pillai
    •  & Eduardo O’Neill
  • Perspective
    | Open Access

    Questions of causality are ubiquitous in Earth system sciences and beyond, yet correlation techniques still prevail. This Perspective provides an overview of causal inference methods, identifies promising applications and methodological challenges, and initiates a causality benchmark platform.

    • Jakob Runge
    • , Sebastian Bathiany
    • , Erik Bollt
    • , Gustau Camps-Valls
    • , Dim Coumou
    • , Ethan Deyle
    • , Clark Glymour
    • , Marlene Kretschmer
    • , Miguel D. Mahecha
    • , Jordi Muñoz-Marí
    • , Egbert H. van Nes
    • , Jonas Peters
    • , Rick Quax
    • , Markus Reichstein
    • , Marten Scheffer
    • , Bernhard Schölkopf
    • , Peter Spirtes
    • , George Sugihara
    • , Jie Sun
    • , Kun Zhang
    •  & Jakob Zscheischler
  • Perspective
    | Open Access

    Cellular mechanical stress is a key determinant of cell shape and function, but how the cell senses stress direction is unclear. In this Perspective the authors propose that microtubules autonomously sense stress directions in plant cells, where tensile stresses are higher than in animal cells.

    • Olivier Hamant
    • , Daisuke Inoue
    • , David Bouchez
    • , Jacques Dumais
    •  & Eric Mjolsness
  • Perspective
    | Open Access

    Climate change represents an existential, global threat to humanity, yet its delocalized nature complicates climate action. Here, the authors propose retrofitting air conditioning units as integrated, scalable, and renewable-powered devices capable of decentralized CO2 conversion and energy democratization.

    • Roland Dittmeyer
    • , Michael Klumpp
    • , Paul Kant
    •  & Geoffrey Ozin
  • Perspective
    | Open Access

    The primary causes of dramatic variations in volcanic flux and composition along strike in subduction zones remain largely unknown. Here we use a promising new approach to show that along-strike volcanic variability in the Quaternary Cascades Arc is primarily due to variations in the flux of basalt into the base of the crust, rather than crustal magma storage.

    • C. B. Till
    • , A. J. R. Kent
    • , G. A. Abers
    • , H. A. Janiszewski
    • , J. B. Gaherty
    •  & B. W. Pitcher
  • Perspective
    | Open Access

    Given the recent growing interest in interorganelle membrane contact sites, the field will benefit from clear rules to define and study them. In this Perspective, a panel of experts aims to provide this growing field with guidelines for experimental definition and analysis.

    • Luca Scorrano
    • , Maria Antonietta De Matteis
    • , Scott Emr
    • , Francesca Giordano
    • , György Hajnóczky
    • , Benoît Kornmann
    • , Laura L. Lackner
    • , Tim P. Levine
    • , Luca Pellegrini
    • , Karin Reinisch
    • , Rosario Rizzuto
    • , Thomas Simmen
    • , Harald Stenmark
    • , Christian Ungermann
    •  & Maya Schuldiner
  • Perspective
    | Open Access

    Biological circadian rhythms maintain a period close to 24 h in coordination with the Earth’s fixed rotational period. Here Webb et al. discuss how external cues continuously adjust phase and period, viewing the oscillator as a dynamically-adjusted plastic system rather than tightly-coupled cogs in a mechanical clock.

    • Alex A. R. Webb
    • , Motohide Seki
    • , Akiko Satake
    •  & Camila Caldana
  • Perspective
    | Open Access

    Understanding the contributions of extrinsic and intrinsic factors on cancer risk is fundamental in determining the intervention and prevention strategies to tackle cancer. Here the authors provide a review of the different factors impacting cancer risk and discuss the limitations of different approaches in evaluating the relative contributions of these factors.

    • Song Wu
    • , Wei Zhu
    • , Patricia Thompson
    •  & Yusuf A Hannun
  • Perspective
    | Open Access

    Indigenous peoples are still underrepresented in genetic research. Here, the authors propose an ethical framework consisting of six major principles that encourages researchers and Indigenous communities to build strong and equal partnerships to increase trust, engagement and diversity in genomic studies.

    • Katrina G. Claw
    • , Matthew Z. Anderson
    • , Rene L. Begay
    • , Krystal S. Tsosie
    • , Keolu Fox
    • , Nanibaa’ A. Garrison
    • , Alyssa C. Bader
    • , Jessica Bardill
    • , Deborah A. Bolnick
    • , Jada Brooks
    • , Anna Cordova
    • , Ripan S. Malhi
    • , Nathan Nakatsuka
    • , Angela Neller
    • , Jennifer A. Raff
    • , Jamie Singson
    • , Kim TallBear
    • , Tada Vargas
    •  & Joseph M. Yracheta
  • Perspective
    | Open Access

    Synthetic biology often views the organism as a chassis into which a circuit can be inserted. Here the authors explore the idea of the organism as a core aspect of design, aiding researchers in navigating the genetic space opened up by SCRaMbLE.

    • Erika Szymanski
    •  & Jane Calvert
  • Perspective
    | Open Access

    Estimating the magnitude of radiative and non-radiative feedbacks is key for understanding the climate dynamics of polar regions. Here the authors propose an inclusive methodology to quantify the influence of all those feedbacks, stimulating more systematic analyses in observational and model ensembles.

    • Hugues Goosse
    • , Jennifer E. Kay
    • , Kyle C. Armour
    • , Alejandro Bodas-Salcedo
    • , Helene Chepfer
    • , David Docquier
    • , Alexandra Jonko
    • , Paul J. Kushner
    • , Olivier Lecomte
    • , François Massonnet
    • , Hyo-Seok Park
    • , Felix Pithan
    • , Gunilla Svensson
    •  & Martin Vancoppenolle
  • Perspective
    | Open Access

    What breaks symmetry in early mammalian embryonic development has been much questioned. Here, Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz and colleagues propose that compartmentalized intracellular reactions generate micro-scale inhomogeneity, which is amplified in the developing embryo, driving pattern formation.

    • Qi Chen
    • , Junchao Shi
    • , Yi Tao
    •  & Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz