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.
Female western bluebirds that have to compete for nesting sites produce more early-hatching male chicks than do females with fewer competitors. The chicks are also likely to be more aggressive. This has long-term effects on the range and behaviour of subsequent generations.Renée Duckworth and
Researchers have developed a microscopic lens with a focal length that can be controlled in less than a millisecond.Controlling the focus of an optical lens is useful for microscopy and photography, but existing reconfigurable lenses are often bulky or slow to adjust. Romain Quidant
A gel that can be infused with live cells and nutrients makes a promising material for printing three-dimensional tissues such as artificial organs.Dongsheng Liu at Tsinghua University in Beijing, Wenmiao Shu at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, UK, and their team made two water-based inks
Sulfur and metals can hitch a ride on bubbles rising in molten magma. This could explain why some volcanoes spew out more sulfur than expected, and how metal ores can form in the crust nearby.Sulfur-rich magma normally sinks to the bottom of magma chambers.
The bacterium that causes the plague, which killed millions of Europeans over four centuries from the 1350s, was repeatedly reintroduced from Asia and did not establish itself in European rodents as was thought.Yersinia pestis bacteria live in wild rodents and can infect humans
Sunlight can cause cancer-related DNA damage hours after light exposure, owing to a skin pigment that was largely thought to be protective.Douglas Brash at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, and his team studied how the pigment melanin in mouse skin
Bacteria hiding out in tumours can shield them from attack by the immune system.The oral bacterium Fusobacterium nucleatum has been linked to premature birth, rheumatoid arthritis and colon cancer. Gilad Bachrach and Ofer Mandelboim at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and their colleagues
Floral nectar helps to control parasites in bumblebees.Plants produce molecules called secondary metabolites that are harmful to herbivores but in some cases can also protect animals from parasites. To see whether such metabolites in nectar similarly affect pollinators, Leif Richardson at Dartmouth College in
Coral reefs in the eastern Pacific Ocean stopped growing for 2,500 years, probably because of a change in climate four millennia ago.Lauren Toth at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne and her colleagues extracted a 2.68-metre core from a reef in the Gulf
Combining big data with personalized medicine is an unprecedented opportunity. It will probably be cheaper than current practices in the long term, particularly given the questionable effectiveness of many medications (see Nature517, 540;10.1038/nature.2015.167742015).Success in this endeavour will depend
I disagree with Andrew Bradbury and colleagues' suggestion that making the sequences of commercial antibodies publicly available could minimize irreproducibility in biomedical research (Nature518, 27–29;10.1038/518027a2015). The real solution is proper initial validation of antibodies.In my
Recombinant antibodies are pure proteins with minimal batch-to-batch variability, so could provide an important element of antibody standardization (A.Bradburyet al. Nature518, 27–29;10.1038/518027a2015). However, they must still be functionally validated if they are to
Bo Zhang and Cong Cao argue that China's citizens should have a legal right to safeguard the quality of their environment (Nature517, 433–434;10.1038/517433a2015). The wealthy would stand to benefit most from such a public litigation system,
Biochars are carbon-rich soil additives derived from agricultural and other plant waste that could enhance crop productivity (see Nature517, 258–260;10.1038/517258a2015). We suggest that biochars could also be produced from human sewage — an underutilized resource that is
To optimize the agricultural and environmental benefits of biochar, a charcoal-rich soil additive, we need to overcome its potentially undesirable effects (see Nature517, 258–260;10.1038/517258a2015).For example, it is uncertain whether biochar — effectively an underground carbon store
An artificial-intelligence system uses machine learning from massive training sets to teach itself to play 49 classic computer games, demonstrating that it can adapt to a variety of tasks. See Letter p.529
A study of two Balkan ethnic groups living in close proximity finds that traditional knowledge about local plant resources helps communities to cope with periods of famine, and can promote the conservation of biodiversity.
Many experiments have probed the mechanisms by which transplanted stem cells give rise to all the cell types of the blood, but it emerges that the process is different in unperturbed conditions. See Letter p.542
50 Years AgoOn August 20, 1964, one of us ... while trapping for small mammals near Listowel, County Kerry, caught an unusual 'mouse'. On subsequent examination it proved to be a member of the family Cricetidae, the bank vole, Clethrionomys glareolus Schreber —
Astronomers have discovered an extremely massive black hole from a time when the Universe was less than 900 million years old. The result provides insight into the growth of black holes and galaxies in the young Universe. See Letter p.512
The 'no-cloning' theorem of quantum mechanics forbids the perfect copying of properties of photons or electrons. But quantum teleportation allows their flawless transfer — now even for two properties simultaneously. See Letter p.516
The m6A structural modification of RNA regulates gene expression. It has now been found to mediate an unusual control mechanism: by altering the structure of RNA, m6A allows a regulatory protein to bind to that RNA. See Letter p.560
Pancreatic cancer remains one of the most lethal of malignancies and a major health burden. We performed whole-genome sequencing and copy number variation (CNV) analysis of 100 pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDACs). Chromosomal rearrangements leading to gene disruption were prevalent, affecting genes known to be important
The origin of mutations is central to understanding evolution and of key relevance to health. Variation occurs non-randomly across the genome, and mechanisms for this remain to be defined. Here we report that the 5′ ends of Okazaki fragments have significantly increased levels of nucleotide
V(D)J recombination in the vertebrate immune system generates a highly diverse population of immunoglobulins and T-cell receptors by combinatorial joining of segments of coding DNA. The RAG1–RAG2 protein complex initiates this site-specific recombination by cutting DNA at specific sites flanking the coding segments. Here we
So far, roughly 40 quasars with redshifts greater than z = 6 have been discovered. Each quasar contains a black hole with a mass of about one billion solar masses (109). The existence of such black holes when the Universe was less than one billion years old presents substantial challenges to theories of the formation and growth of black holes and the coevolution of black holes and galaxies. Here we report the discovery of an ultraluminous quasar, SDSS J010013.02+280225.8, at redshift z = 6.30. It has an optical and near-infrared luminosity a few times greater than those of previously known z > 6 quasars. On the basis of the deep absorption trough on the blue side of the Lyman-α emission line in the spectrum, we estimate the proper size of the ionized proximity zone associated with the quasar to be about 26 million light years, larger than found with other z > 6.1 quasars with lower luminosities. We estimate (on the basis of a near-infrared spectrum) that the black hole has a mass of ∼1.2 × 1010, which is consistent with the 1.3 × 1010 derived by assuming an Eddington-limited accretion rate.
Quantum teleportation provides a ‘disembodied’ way to transfer quantum states from one object to another at a distant location, assisted by previously shared entangled states and a classical communication channel. As well as being of fundamental interest, teleportation has been recognized as an important element in long-distance quantum communication, distributed quantum networks and measurement-based quantum computation. There have been numerous demonstrations of teleportation in different physical systems such as photons, atoms, ions, electrons and superconducting circuits. All the previous experiments were limited to the teleportation of one degree of freedom only. However, a single quantum particle can naturally possess various degrees of freedom—internal and external—and with coherent coupling among them. A fundamental open challenge is to teleport multiple degrees of freedom simultaneously, which is necessary to describe a quantum particle fully and, therefore, to teleport it intact. Here we demonstrate quantum teleportation of the composite quantum states of a single photon encoded in both spin and orbital angular momentum. We use photon pairs entangled in both degrees of freedom (that is, hyper-entangled) as the quantum channel for teleportation, and develop a method to project and discriminate hyper-entangled Bell states by exploiting probabilistic quantum non-demolition measurement, which can be extended to more degrees of freedom. We verify the teleportation for both spin–orbit product states and hybrid entangled states, and achieve a teleportation fidelity ranging from 0.57 to 0.68, above the classical limit. Our work is a step towards the teleportation of more complex quantum systems, and demonstrates an increase in our technical control of scalable quantum technologies.
Emulsification is a powerful, well-known technique for mixing and dispersing immiscible components within a continuous liquid phase. Consequently, emulsions are central components of medicine, food and performance materials. Complex emulsions, including Janus droplets (that is, droplets with faces of differing chemistries) and multiple emulsions, are of increasing importance in pharmaceuticals and medical diagnostics, in the fabrication of microparticles and capsules for food, in chemical separations, in cosmetics, and in dynamic optics. Because complex emulsion properties and functions are related to the droplet geometry and composition, the development of rapid, simple fabrication approaches allowing precise control over the droplets’ physical and chemical characteristics is critical. Significant advances in the fabrication of complex emulsions have been made using a number of procedures, ranging from large-scale, less precise techniques that give compositional heterogeneity using high-shear mixers and membranes, to small-volume but more precise microfluidic methods. However, such approaches have yet to create droplet morphologies that can be controllably altered after emulsification. Reconfigurable complex liquids potentially have great utility as dynamically tunable materials. Here we describe an approach to the one-step fabrication of three- and four-phase complex emulsions with highly controllable and reconfigurable morphologies. The fabrication makes use of the temperature-sensitive miscibility of hydrocarbon, silicone and fluorocarbon liquids, and is applied to both the microfluidic and the scalable batch production of complex droplets. We demonstrate that droplet geometries can be alternated between encapsulated and Janus configurations by varying the interfacial tensions using hydrocarbon and fluorinated surfactants including stimuli-responsive and cleavable surfactants. This yields a generalizable strategy for the fabrication of multiphase emulsions with controllably reconfigurable morphologies and the potential to create a wide range of responsive materials.
The Martian limb (that is, the observed ‘edge’ of the planet) represents a unique window into the complex atmospheric phenomena occurring there. Clouds of ice crystals (CO2 ice or H2O ice) have been observed numerous times by spacecraft and ground-based telescopes, showing that clouds are typically layered and always confined below an altitude of 100 kilometres; suspended dust has also been detected at altitudes up to 60 kilometres during major dust storms. Highly concentrated and localized patches of auroral emission controlled by magnetic field anomalies in the crust have been observed at an altitude of 130 kilometres. Here we report the occurrence in March and April 2012 of two bright, extremely high-altitude plumes at the Martian terminator (the day–night boundary) at 200 to 250 kilometres or more above the surface, and thus well into the ionosphere and the exosphere. They were spotted at a longitude of about 195° west, a latitude of about −45° (at Terra Cimmeria), extended about 500 to 1,000 kilometres in both the north–south and east–west directions, and lasted for about 10 days. The features exhibited day-to-day variability, and were seen at the morning terminator but not at the evening limb, which indicates rapid evolution in less than 10 hours and a cyclic behaviour. We used photometric measurements to explore two possible scenarios and investigate their nature. For particles reflecting solar radiation, clouds of CO2-ice or H2O-ice particles with an effective radius of 0.1 micrometres are favoured over dust. Alternatively, the plume could arise from auroral emission, of a brightness more than 1,000 times that of the Earth’s aurora, over a region with a strong magnetic anomaly where aurorae have previously been detected. Importantly, both explanations defy our current understanding of Mars’ upper atmosphere.