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Nature is the international weekly journal of science: a magazine style journal that publishes full-length research papers in all disciplines of science, as well as News and Views, reviews, news, features, commentaries, web focuses and more, covering all branches of science and how science impacts upon all aspects of society and life.
Updated: 1 year 51 weeks ago

Q&A: End-game winner

Tue, 10/20/2015 - 23:00

Q&A: End-game winner

Nature. doi:10.1038/526S56a

Author: Elena Tucker

Elizabeth Blackburn shared the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Carol Greider and Jack Szostak for their work on telomeres — the protective caps at the end of chromosomes — and for identifying the enzyme telomerase, which maintains telomere length. Now at the University of California, San Francisco, she offers Elena Tucker an insight into her life inside and outside academia.

Categories: Journal Articles

Q&A: Microbe cheerleader

Tue, 10/20/2015 - 23:00

Q&A: Microbe cheerleader

Nature. doi:10.1038/526S58a

Author: Gijsbert Werner

Richard Roberts shared the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Phillip Sharp for their discoveries of split genes, which contain parts that encode protein, called exons, and gaps between them, called introns. Now chief scientific officer at New England Biolabs based in Ipswich, Massachusetts, Roberts talks to Gijsbert Werner about microbes, genetically modified food and the problem with Nobel prizes.

Categories: Journal Articles

Q&A: Chance encounters

Tue, 10/20/2015 - 23:00

Q&A: Chance encounters

Nature. doi:10.1038/526S59a

Author: Christoph A. Thaiss

Bruce Beutler is director of the Center for the Genetics of Host Defense at UT Southwestern in Dallas, Texas. He shared one half of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Jules Hoffmann for their work on the activation of innate immunity; the other half of the prize was awarded to Ralph Steinman. Here, Beutler talks to Christoph Thaiss about biological puzzles and intuition.

Categories: Journal Articles

Q&A: Boson beginnings

Tue, 10/20/2015 - 23:00

Q&A: Boson beginnings

Nature. doi:10.1038/526S61a

Author: Thifhelimbilu Daphney Bucher

François Englert shared the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics with Peter Higgs for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that gives mass to subatomic particles. For this work, he collaborated with Robert Brout, who died in 2011. He looks back on his contribution to science with Thifhelimbilu Daphney Bucher.

Categories: Journal Articles

Correction

Tue, 10/20/2015 - 23:00

Correction

Nature 526, 7574 (2015). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/526479e

The print version of the Research Highlight 'Corals cope with acidified waters' (Nature526, 296–297;10.1038/526297c2015) incorrectly stated that ocean water is being acidified when in fact it is becoming less alkaline; the online title was changed to

Categories: Journal Articles

Correction

Tue, 10/20/2015 - 23:00

Correction

Nature 526, 7574 (2015). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/526481a

The story ‘Telescope start’ (Nature526, 298; 2015) stated that the 23-metre telescope being built in the Canary Islands would form part of the Cherenkov Telescope Array. However, the telescope is a prototype and will not necessarily become part of the array,

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Corrections

Tue, 10/20/2015 - 23:00

Corrections

Nature 526, 7574 (2015). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/526489a

The News Feature ‘The impenetrable proof’ (Nature 526, 178–181; 2015) incorrectly stated that Shinichi Mochizuki estimated that it would take an expert 500 hours to understand his proof. In fact, this was Ivan Fesenko’s estimate. The story also stated that Fesenko warned Mochizuki

Categories: Journal Articles

Fluid dynamics: Turbulence spreads like wildfire

Tue, 10/20/2015 - 23:00

Fluid dynamics: Turbulence spreads like wildfire

Nature 526, 7574 (2015). doi:10.1038/526508a

Authors: Michael D. Graham

A simple model captures the key features of the transition from smooth to turbulent flow for a fluid in a pipe. The findings pave the way for more-complex models and may have engineering ramifications. See Letter p.550

Categories: Journal Articles

Immunology: Chronic effects of acute infections

Tue, 10/20/2015 - 23:00

Immunology: Chronic effects of acute infections

Nature 526, 7574 (2015). doi:10.1038/526509a

Authors: Nicola Harris

Acute infection of mice with an intestinal pathogen leads to long-lasting inflammation that is maintained by intestinal microorganisms. This observation reveals a path by which infection history can affect long-term immune function.

Categories: Journal Articles

Climate science: Small glacier has big effect on sea-level rise

Tue, 10/20/2015 - 23:00

Climate science: Small glacier has big effect on sea-level rise

Nature 526, 7574 (2015). doi:10.1038/526510a

Authors: Natalya Gomez

Models of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet predict substantial ice loss over the next few centuries — and that a glacier expected to contribute greatly to sea-level rise may already be unstable.

Categories: Journal Articles

50 & 100 Years Ago

Tue, 10/20/2015 - 23:00

50 & 100 Years Ago

Nature 526, 7574 (2015). doi:10.1038/526511a

50 Years AgoThere is an inborn fascination ... in the discovery and unearthing of relics of life as it existed centuries ago. None of these is perhaps more generally exciting and popular than the Roman mosaic pavements ... constructed floorings in regular cubes of

Categories: Journal Articles

Microbiology: Conductive consortia

Tue, 10/20/2015 - 23:00

Microbiology: Conductive consortia

Nature 526, 7574 (2015). doi:10.1038/526513a

Authors: Michael Wagner

Physiological analyses, electron microscopy and single-cell chemical imaging suggest that direct electron transfer occurs between the members of methane-oxidizing microbial consortia. See Article p.531 and Letter p.587

Categories: Journal Articles

Ecology: Mangrove maintenance

Tue, 10/20/2015 - 23:00

Ecology: Mangrove maintenance

Nature 526, 7574 (2015). doi:10.1038/526515a

Author: Marian Turner

The stilt-rooted trees of mangrove forests host rich biological diversity, as well as supporting fisheries and protecting shores from storm damage and erosion. These tidal-zone trees can maintain an appropriate soil elevation for local sea levels and inundation rates by accreting sediment or organic material

Categories: Journal Articles

Exoplanets: A glimpse of Earth's fate

Tue, 10/20/2015 - 23:00

Exoplanets: A glimpse of Earth's fate

Nature 526, 7574 (2015). doi:10.1038/526515b

Authors: Francesca Faedi

Analysis of data from the Kepler space observatory and ground-based telescopes has led to the detection of one, and possibly several, minor planets that are in a state of disintegration in orbit around a white dwarf star. See Letter p.546

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Flows of X-ray gas reveal the disruption of a star by a massive black hole

Tue, 10/20/2015 - 23:00

Flows of X-ray gas reveal the disruption of a star by a massive black hole

Nature 526, 7574 (2015). doi:10.1038/nature15708

Authors: Jon M. Miller, Jelle S. Kaastra, M. Coleman Miller, Mark T. Reynolds, Gregory Brown, S. Bradley Cenko, Jeremy J. Drake, Suvi Gezari, James Guillochon, Kayhan Gultekin, Jimmy Irwin, Andrew Levan, Dipankar Maitra, W. Peter Maksym, Richard Mushotzky, Paul O’Brien, Frits Paerels, Jelle de Plaa, Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz, Tod Strohmayer & Nial Tanvir

Tidal forces close to massive black holes can violently disrupt stars that make a close approach. These extreme events are discovered via bright X-ray and optical/ultraviolet flares in galactic centres. Prior studies based on modelling decaying flux trends have been able to estimate broad properties, such as the mass accretion rate. Here we report the detection of flows of hot, ionized gas in high-resolution X-ray spectra of a nearby tidal disruption event, ASASSN-14li in the galaxy PGC 043234. Variability within the absorption-dominated spectra indicates that the gas is relatively close to the black hole. Narrow linewidths indicate that the gas does not stretch over a large range of radii, giving a low volume filling factor. Modest outflow speeds of a few hundred kilometres per second are observed; these are below the escape speed from the radius set by variability. The gas flow is consistent with a rotating wind from the inner, super-Eddington region of a nascent accretion disk, or with a filament of disrupted stellar gas near to the apocentre of an elliptical orbit. Flows of this sort are predicted by fundamental analytical theory and more recent numerical simulations.

Categories: Journal Articles

A disintegrating minor planet transiting a white dwarf

Tue, 10/20/2015 - 23:00

A disintegrating minor planet transiting a white dwarf

Nature 526, 7574 (2015). doi:10.1038/nature15527

Authors: Andrew Vanderburg, John Asher Johnson, Saul Rappaport, Allyson Bieryla, Jonathan Irwin, John Arban Lewis, David Kipping, Warren R. Brown, Patrick Dufour, David R. Ciardi, Ruth Angus, Laura Schaefer, David W. Latham, David Charbonneau, Charles Beichman, Jason Eastman, Nate McCrady, Robert A. Wittenmyer & Jason T. Wright

Most stars become white dwarfs after they have exhausted their nuclear fuel (the Sun will be one such). Between one-quarter and one-half of white dwarfs have elements heavier than helium in their atmospheres, even though these elements ought to sink rapidly into the stellar interiors (unless they are occasionally replenished). The abundance ratios of heavy elements in the atmospheres of white dwarfs are similar to the ratios in rocky bodies in the Solar System. This fact, together with the existence of warm, dusty debris disks surrounding about four per cent of white dwarfs, suggests that rocky debris from the planetary systems of white-dwarf progenitors occasionally pollutes the atmospheres of the stars. The total accreted mass of this debris is sometimes comparable to the mass of large asteroids in the Solar System. However, rocky, disintegrating bodies around a white dwarf have not yet been observed. Here we report observations of a white dwarf—WD 1145+017—being transited by at least one, and probably several, disintegrating planetesimals, with periods ranging from 4.5 hours to 4.9 hours. The strongest transit signals occur every 4.5 hours and exhibit varying depths (blocking up to 40 per cent of the star’s brightness) and asymmetric profiles, indicative of a small object with a cometary tail of dusty effluent material. The star has a dusty debris disk, and the star’s spectrum shows prominent lines from heavy elements such as magnesium, aluminium, silicon, calcium, iron, and nickel. This system provides further evidence that the pollution of white dwarfs by heavy elements might originate from disrupted rocky bodies such as asteroids and minor planets.

Categories: Journal Articles

The rise of fully turbulent flow

Tue, 10/20/2015 - 23:00

The rise of fully turbulent flow

Nature 526, 7574 (2015). doi:10.1038/nature15701

Authors: Dwight Barkley, Baofang Song, Vasudevan Mukund, Grégoire Lemoult, Marc Avila & Björn Hof

Over a century of research into the origin of turbulence in wall-bounded shear flows has resulted in a puzzling picture in which turbulence appears in a variety of different states competing with laminar background flow. At moderate flow speeds, turbulence is confined to localized patches; it is only at higher speeds that the entire flow becomes turbulent. The origin of the different states encountered during this transition, the front dynamics of the turbulent regions and the transformation to full turbulence have yet to be explained. By combining experiments, theory and computer simulations, here we uncover a bifurcation scenario that explains the transformation to fully turbulent pipe flow and describe the front dynamics of the different states encountered in the process. Key to resolving this problem is the interpretation of the flow as a bistable system with nonlinear propagation (advection) of turbulent fronts. These findings bridge the gap between our understanding of the onset of turbulence and fully turbulent flows.

Categories: Journal Articles

Intercellular wiring enables electron transfer between methanotrophic archaea and bacteria

Tue, 10/20/2015 - 23:00

Intercellular wiring enables electron transfer between methanotrophic archaea and bacteria

Nature 526, 7574 (2015). doi:10.1038/nature15733

Authors: Gunter Wegener, Viola Krukenberg, Dietmar Riedel, Halina E. Tegetmeyer & Antje Boetius

The anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) with sulfate controls the emission of the greenhouse gas methane from the ocean floor. In marine sediments, AOM is performed by dual-species consortia of anaerobic methanotrophic archaea (ANME) and sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) inhabiting the methane–sulfate transition zone. The biochemical pathways and biological adaptations enabling this globally relevant process are not fully understood. Here we study the syntrophic interaction in thermophilic AOM (TAOM) between ANME-1 archaea and their consortium partner SRB HotSeep-1 (ref. 6) at 60 °C to test the hypothesis of a direct interspecies exchange of electrons. The activity of TAOM consortia was compared to the first ANME-free culture of an AOM partner bacterium that grows using hydrogen as the sole electron donor. The thermophilic ANME-1 do not produce sufficient hydrogen to sustain the observed growth of the HotSeep-1 partner. Enhancing the growth of the HotSeep-1 partner by hydrogen addition represses methane oxidation and the metabolic activity of ANME-1. Further supporting the hypothesis of direct electron transfer between the partners, we observe that under TAOM conditions, both ANME and the HotSeep-1 bacteria overexpress genes for extracellular cytochrome production and form cell-to-cell connections that resemble the nanowire structures responsible for interspecies electron transfer between syntrophic consortia of Geobacter. HotSeep-1 highly expresses genes for pili production only during consortial growth using methane, and the nanowire-like structures are absent in HotSeep-1 cells isolated with hydrogen. These observations suggest that direct electron transfer is a principal mechanism in TAOM, which may also explain the enigmatic functioning and specificity of other methanotrophic ANME–SRB consortia.

Categories: Journal Articles

Russian roulette

Mon, 10/19/2015 - 23:00

Russian roulette

Nature 526, 7574 (2015). doi:10.1038/526475a

Attempts to keep foreign interests out of Russian research will only suppress the exchange of information, and risk damaging East–West relations.

Categories: Journal Articles

Indigenous peoples must benefit from science

Mon, 10/19/2015 - 23:00

Indigenous peoples must benefit from science

Nature 526, 7574 (2015). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/526477a

Author: Dyna Rochmyaningsih

To drive sustainable development, Dyna Rochmyaningsih argues, science must empower rural communities — not just serve industry and governments.

Categories: Journal Articles