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The best in science news, commentary, and research
About a year ago, Bruce Alberts and I announced the launch of Science in the Classroom (scienceintheclassroom.org), an online resource of annotated research papers published in Science, with associated teaching materials designed to help pre-college and college students understand how science moves forward as a structured way of revealing the laws of nature. Since its fledgling beginning last year, the project has expanded its subject diversity and continues to add articles at the rate of two per month. These articles have reached about 3000 users per month. But now it is time to take this project to the next level—and you can help, by annotating new papers and designing creative activities to accompany them. Author: Marcia McNutt

A roundup of weekly science policy and related news.

Elation and disappointment as lander goes into early hibernation, curtailing experiments. Author: Eric Hand

Replication of 1993 study highlights same region on X chromosome, but some still call evidence inconclusive. Author: Kelly Servick

Modelers move to analyze implications of largest emitter's commitment to stabilize emissions by 2030. Author: David Malakoff

New European Commission says it hasn't decided how it will organize its scientific advice. Author: Tania Rabesandratana

Astronomers thought they knew why all galaxies eventually redden and die. They were wrong. Author: Ann Finkbeiner

Does any treatment work against Ebola? Researchers may soon find out, if they can overcome daunting ethical and practical challenges. Authors: Jon Cohen, Kai Kupferschmidt

A push for improving basic care of Ebola patients could save many lives without experimental treatments. Author: Jon Cohen

Massive seawall construction in coastal wetlands threatens biodiversity Authors: Zhijun Ma, David S. Melville, Jianguo Liu, Ying Chen, Hongyan Yang, Wenwei Ren, Zhengwang Zhang, Theunis Piersma, Bo Li

Research exploring sex differences in the human brain must overcome “neurosexist” interpretations Author: Cordelia Fine

Levitated droplets of uranium oxide reveal a complex structure below and above the melting point [Also see Report by Skinner et al.] Author: Alexandra Navrotsky

Data from the eastern Himalaya challenge the idea that climate-driven erosion can control tectonics [Also see Report by Wang et al.] Author: Kelin X. Whipple

How does influenza immunity develop over one's lifetime? [Also see Report by Fonville et al.] Author: Justin Lessler

A circadian gene expression atlas shows that time of day is relevant to the oscillation of drug targets and the effects of medications Author: Garret A. FitzGerald

Specific mechanisms of somatic growth protect long-lived fungi and plants from deleterious mutations Author: Duur K. Aanen

Author: Christine Griffiths

Author: Deborah Dixon

A listing of books received at Science during the week ending 14 November 2014.

Authors: Xingli Giam, Lian Pin Koh, David S. Wilcove

Authors: L. R. Carrasco, C. Larrosa, E. J. Milner-Gulland, D. P. Edwards

Authors: Paul R. Sanberg, Judy Genshaft, Sudeep Sarkar

Author: K. Brad Wray

From bench to bedside Authors: Stella Hurtley, Pamela J. Hines, Kristen L. Mueller, Elizabeth Culotta

Nina Jablonski explores how it evolved—and what happens when it does not match the environment. Author: Ann Gibbons

Mammalian skin research represents the convergence of three complementary disciplines: cell biology, mouse genetics, and dermatology. The skin provides a paradigm for current research in cell adhesion, inflammation, and tissue stem cells. Here, I discuss recent insights into the cell biology of skin. Single-cell analysis has revealed that human epidermal stem cells are heterogeneous and differentiate in response to multiple extrinsic signals. Live-cell imaging, optogenetics, and cell ablation experiments show skin cells to be remarkably dynamic. High-throughput, genome-wide approaches have yielded unprecedented insights into the circuitry that controls epidermal stem cell fate. Last, integrative biological analysis of human skin disorders has revealed unexpected functions for elements of the skin that were previously considered purely structural. Author: Fiona M. Watt

The ability of the skin to repair itself after injury is vital to human survival and is disrupted in a spectrum of disorders. The process of cutaneous wound healing is complex, requiring a coordinated response by immune cells, hematopoietic cells, and resident cells of the skin. We review the classic paradigms of wound healing and evaluate how recent discoveries have enriched our understanding of this process. We evaluate current and experimental approaches to treating cutaneous wounds, with an emphasis on cell-based therapies and skin transplantation. Authors: Bryan K. Sun, Zurab Siprashvili, Paul A. Khavari

Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is an aggressive disease that is rising in incidence. Although melanoma is a historically treatment-resistant malignancy, in recent years unprecedented breakthroughs in targeted therapies and immunotherapies have revolutionized the standard of care for patients with advanced disease. Here, we provide an overview of recent developments in our understanding of melanoma risk factors, genomics, and molecular pathogenesis and how these insights have driven advances in melanoma treatment. In addition, we review benefits and limitations of current therapies and look ahead to continued progress in melanoma prevention and therapy. Remarkable achievements in the field have already produced a paradigm shift in melanoma treatment: Metastatic melanoma, once considered incurable, can now be treated with potentially curative rather than palliative intent. Authors: Jennifer A. Lo, David E. Fisher

The skin is our largest sensory organ, transmitting pain, temperature, itch, and touch information to the central nervous system. Touch sensations are conveyed by distinct combinations of mechanosensory end organs and the low-threshold mechanoreceptors (LTMRs) that innervate them. Here we explore the various structures underlying the diverse functions of cutaneous LTMR end organs. Beyond anchoring of LTMRs to the surrounding dermis and epidermis, recent evidence suggests that the non-neuronal components of end organs play an active role in signaling to LTMRs and may physically gate force-sensitive channels in these receptors. Combined with LTMR intrinsic properties, the balance of these factors comprises the response properties of mechanosensory neurons and, thus, the neural encoding of touch. Authors: Amanda Zimmerman, Ling Bai, David D. Ginty

Human skin, the body’s largest organ, functions as a physical barrier to bar the entry of foreign pathogens, while concomitantly providing a home to myriad commensals. Over a human’s life span, keratinized skin cells, immune cells, and microbes all interact to integrate the processes of maintaining skin’s physical and immune barrier under homeostatic healthy conditions and also under multiple stresses, such as wounding or infection. In this Review, we explore the intricate interactions of microbes and immune cells on the skin surface and within associated appendages to regulate this orchestrated maturation in the context of both host physiological changes and environmental challenges. Authors: Yasmine Belkaid, Julia A. Segre

Tibetan gorge avoids a tectonic aneurysm | A cohesin ring around two DNA strands | Compensating optical loss for laser gain | Containing the nuclear elephant's foot | Recharging Ebola mitigation measures | Using a diabetes drug to treat tuberculosis | Transit marked by magnetosphere effects | Making the brain promote fat loss in mice | Hills and valleys of influenza infection | Variety of Ebola symptoms in mice | HIV drugs can dampen inflammation, too | Similar regulation of digit and genital development | Rewiring the gene regulatory landscape | How a fungus can live for centuries

Mycoplasma doubles the cost of an STD | Disorder enhances binding cooperativity | Climbing up the walls like a gecko | Symmetric photons make good communicators | Dark matter may yield x-ray glow nearby | Redox regulation of Lon protease | Follow scientists, not the lab notebook | A (w)holistic approach to track T cells

The presence of a DNA “exit gate” in a tripartite ring of proteins confirms that the ring holds together sister chromatid DNA strands. Authors: Thomas G. Gligoris, Johanna C. Scheinost, Frank Bürmann, Naomi Petela, Kok-Lung Chan, Pelin Uluocak, Frédéric Beckouët, Stephan Gruber, Kim Nasmyth, Jan Löwe

The presence of a DNA “exit gate” in a tripartite ring of proteins confirms the ring holds together sister chromatid DNA strands. Authors: Pim J. Huis in ’t Veld, Franz Herzog, Rene Ladurner, Iain F. Davidson, Sabina Piric, Emanuel Kreidl, Venugopal Bhaskara, Ruedi Aebersold, Jan-Michael Peters

The interplay between gain and loss can provide a route to control laser emission. Authors: Liang Feng, Zi Jing Wong, Ren-Min Ma, Yuan Wang, Xiang Zhang

The interplay between gain and loss can provide a route to control laser emission. Authors: Hossein Hodaei, Mohammad-Ali Miri, Matthias Heinrich, Demetrios N. Christodoulides, Mercedeh Khajavikhan

Sediment cores from a buried canyon upstream of the Tsangpo Gorge support a rapid uplift event to explain gorge formation. [Also see Perspective by Whipple] Authors: Ping Wang, Dirk Scherler, Jing Liu-Zeng, Jürgen Mey, Jean-Philippe Avouac, Yunda Zhang, Dingguo Shi

An exoplanet’s magnetic field is manifested as a particular absorption pattern in the transmitted spectrum of the host star. Authors: Kristina G. Kislyakova, Mats Holmström, Helmut Lammer, Petra Odert, Maxim L. Khodachenko

Levitation of molten uranium dioxide allowed structural determination of the solid and melt at high temperature. [Also see Perspective by Navrotsky] Authors: L. B. Skinner, C. J. Benmore, J. K. R. Weber, M. A. Williamson, A. Tamalonis, A. Hebden, T. Wiencek, O. L. G. Alderman, M. Guthrie, L. Leibowitz, J. B. Parise

Intercrossed mice infected with Ebola virus show a spectrum of pathology from prolonged coagulation to total resistance. Authors: Angela L. Rasmussen, Atsushi Okumura, Martin T. Ferris, Richard Green, Friederike Feldmann, Sara M. Kelly, Dana P. Scott, David Safronetz, Elaine Haddock, Rachel LaCasse, Matthew J. Thomas, Pavel Sova, Victoria S. Carter, Jeffrey M. Weiss, Darla R. Miller, Ginger D. Shaw, Marcus J. Korth, Mark T. Heise, Ralph S. Baric, Fernando Pardo-Manuel de Villena, Heinz Feldmann, Michael G. Katze

A combination of hygienic practices could feasibly check Ebola within 6 months. Authors: Abhishek Pandey, Katherine E. Atkins, Jan Medlock, Natasha Wenzel, Jeffrey P. Townsend, James E. Childs, Tolbert G. Nyenswah, Martial L. Ndeffo-Mbah, Alison P. Galvani

Preemptive vaccine updates may substantially improve influenza vaccine efficacy in previously exposed individuals. [Also see Perspective by Lessler] Authors: J. M. Fonville, S. H. Wilks, S. L. James, A. Fox, M. Ventresca, M. Aban, L. Xue, T. C. Jones, Le N. M. H., Pham Q. T., Tran N. D., Y. Wong, A. Mosterin, L. C. Katzelnick, D. Labonte, Le T. T., G. van der Net, E. Skepner, C. A. Russell, T. D. Kaplan, G. F. Rimmelzwaan, N. Masurel, J. C. de Jong, A. Palache, W. E. P. Beyer, Le Q. M., Nguyen T. H., H. F. L. Wertheim, A. C. Hurt, A. D. M. E. Osterhaus, I. G. Barr, R. A. M. Fouchier, P. W. Horby, D. J. Smith

Anti-HIV nucleoside analogs treat retinal degeneration and graft-versus-host disease in mice. Authors: Benjamin J. Fowler, Bradley D. Gelfand, Younghee Kim, Nagaraj Kerur, Valeria Tarallo, Yoshio Hirano, Shoba Amarnath, Daniel H. Fowler, Marta Radwan, Mark T. Young, Keir Pittman, Paul Kubes, Hitesh K. Agarwal, Keykavous Parang, David R. Hinton, Ana Bastos-Carvalho, Shengjian Li, Tetsuhiro Yasuma, Takeshi Mizutani, Reo Yasuma, Charles Wright, Jayakrishna Ambati

The enhancer landscape controlling Hoxd genes in digit and external genital cells is the same. Authors: Nicolas Lonfat, Thomas Montavon, Fabrice Darbellay, Sandra Gitto, Denis Duboule

Mouse-to-human genomic comparisons illuminate conserved transcriptional programs despite regulatory rewiring. Authors: Jeff Vierstra, Eric Rynes, Richard Sandstrom, Miaohua Zhang, Theresa Canfield, R. Scott Hansen, Sandra Stehling-Sun, Peter J. Sabo, Rachel Byron, Richard Humbert, Robert E. Thurman, Audra K. Johnson, Shinny Vong, Kristen Lee, Daniel Bates, Fidencio Neri, Morgan Diegel, Erika Giste, Eric Haugen, Douglas Dunn, Matthew S. Wilken, Steven Josefowicz, Robert Samstein, Kai-Hsin Chang, Evan E. Eichler, Marella De Bruijn, Thomas A. Reh, Arthur Skoultchi, Alexander Rudensky, Stuart H. Orkin, Thalia Papayannopoulou, Piper M. Treuting, Licia Selleri, Rajinder Kaul, Mark Groudine, M. A. Bender, John A. Stamatoyannopoulos

Alan Dove

A weekly roundup of information on newly offered instrumentation, apparatus, and laboratory materials of potential interest to researchers.

On this week's show: Neurosexism and a news roundup.

Author: Ranjan Mukherjee