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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.