The week in science: 23–29 October 2015
Nature 526, 7575 (2015). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/526614a
Martian landing-site selected; telescope shuttered in Hawaii; and Hurricane Patricia pounds Mexico.
Microbiology: Create a global microbiome effort
Nature 526, 7575 (2015). doi:10.1038/526631a
Authors: Nicole Dubilier, Margaret McFall-Ngai & Liping Zhao
Understanding how microbes affect health and the biosphere requires an international initiative, argue Nicole Dubilier, Margaret McFall-Ngai and Liping Zhao.
Institutions: Revive universities of the Muslim world
Nature 526, 7575 (2015). doi:10.1038/526634a
Authors: Nidhal Guessoum & Athar Osama
To boost science, higher-education institutes must give students a broad education and become meritocratic, say Nidhal Guessoum and Athar Osama.
Jin et al. reply
Nature 526, 7575 (2015). doi:10.1038/nature15547
Authors: F.-F. Jin, J. Boucharel & I.-I. Lin
replying to I.-L. Moon, S.-H. Kim & C. Wang Nature526, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature15546 (2015)Observational and modelling studies suggest that subsurface ocean temperature plays a major part in tropical cyclone intensification. In a recent Letter we reported that through
Success against blindness encourages gene therapy researchers
Nature 526, 7574 (2015). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/526487a
Author: Heidi Ledford
Positive news buoys a beleaguered field, but treatment benefits may fade.
The lab that knows why you’re so busy
Nature 526, 7574 (2015). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/526492a
Author: Helen Pearson
Why does modern life seem so hectic? An Oxford centre is trying to find answers with the world's biggest collection of time-use diaries.
Nature 526, 7575 (2015). doi:10.1038/526609b
Two medical-technology companies illustrate the ups and downs of innovation.
Nature 526, 7575 (2015). doi:10.1038/526610a
The problem of abandoned fishing gear and its effects on marine life deserve greater attention.
Forensic DNA evidence is not infallible
Nature 526, 7575 (2015). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/526611a
Author: Cynthia M. Cale
As DNA analysis techniques become more sensitive, we must be careful to reassess the probabilities of error, argues Cynthia M. Cale.
Zoology: Bright light as sex signal
Nature 526, 7575 (2015). doi:10.1038/526612a
Brighter female glow-worms lay more eggs than their dim rivals and are more attractive to potential nocturnal mates.Juhani Hopkins at the University of Oulu in Finland and his colleagues allowed 26 female glow-worms (Lampyris noctiluca; pictured) to mate in the lab.
Neuroscience: Alzheimer's clue from spatial test
Nature 526, 7575 (2015). doi:10.1038/526612b
Young adults who are at increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease show abnormal function in a part of the brain involved in spatial navigation.Nikolai Axmacher at Ruhr University Bochum in Germany and his colleagues used neuroimaging to measure the functioning of the 'grid-cell' system
Astronomy: Red-giant rogue in Andromeda
Nature 526, 7575 (2015). doi:10.1038/526612c
Astronomers have spotted a giant 'runaway star' speeding through the Andromeda galaxy; the first of its kind seen outside the Milky Way.Whereas most stars flow together around the centre of their galaxy, some, known as runaways, travel at different directions and speeds to their
Materials: Iron skin senses the softest touch
Nature 526, 7575 (2015). doi:10.1038/526612d
An iron-based artificial skin can sense the lightest touch.Ahmed Alfadhel and Jürgen Kosel at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia, made a tactile sensor by embedding iron nanowires in hair-like structures called cilia, made of a polymer called
Genomics: Gene regulation predates animals
Nature 526, 7575 (2015). doi:10.1038/526612e
The oldest ancestor of animal life used the same tricks that modern humans do to turn genes on and off.Alex de Mendoza at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology in Barcelona, Spain, and his colleagues studied gene regulation in the fungus-like single-celled organism Creolimax fragrantissima
Disease: Plague is an ancient pathogen
Nature 526, 7575 (2015). doi:10.1038/526613a
Plague was plaguing humanity thousands of years earlier than previously thought, but in a less transmissible form.Yersinia pestis bacteria, which are thought to have been behind the Black Death that killed millions in the fourteenth century, have previously been found in burial sites
Stem cells: Molecular menu creates neurons
Nature 526, 7575 (2015). doi:10.1038/526613b
Astrocyte cells in the brain can be reprogrammed into neurons using a precise sequence of molecules. The technique may one day be useful in brain repair.Similar cells have previously been reprogrammed into neurons using viruses, but Gong Chen and Gang-Yi Wu at Pennsylvania State
Lab tools: Superconducting sensors warm up
Nature 526, 7575 (2015). doi:10.1038/526613c
An extremely sensitive, superconductor-based magnetic sensor can work at around 77 kelvin, a temperature achievable with liquid nitrogen rather than the expensive liquid helium required by typical existing devices, which operate at just above absolute zero.Superconducting quantum-interference devices (SQUIDs) can sense individual quanta of
Atmospheric science: Arctic snow is not becoming dirtier
Nature 526, 7575 (2015). doi:10.1038/526613d
Dust and soot might not be behind the observed darkening of the Greenland ice sheet (pictured).Tiny particles of dirt absorb sunlight that would be reflected into space by ice — contributing to local warming. Satellite measurements suggest that the amount of sunlight
Super-fast Antarctic drills ready to hunt for oldest ice
Nature 526, 7575 (2015). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/526618a
Author: Alexandra Witze
Next-generation machines can penetrate kilometres below surface in days rather than years.
Cancer-fighting viruses win approval
Nature 526, 7575 (2015). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/526622a
Author: Heidi Ledford
US regulators clear a viral melanoma therapy, paving the way for a promising field with a chequered past.