Materials science: The hole story
The crystals are metal–organic frameworks (MOFs), molecular scaffolds made up of metal-containing nodes linked by carbon-based struts . The resulting pores are ideal for trapping guest molecules and, in some cases, forcing them to participate in chemical reactions. And they can be tailored with exquisite precision: researchers have created more than 20,000 types of MOF, with potential applications that range from stripping carbon dioxide from power-plant exhausts to separating intractable industrial mixtures, catalysing chemical reactions and revealing molecular structures. “MOFs are the fastest growing class of materials in chemistry today,” says Omar Yaghi, a chemist at the University of California, Berkeley, and one of the pioneers of the field.
Tumour mutations harnessed to build cancer vaccine
Vaccines made from mutated proteins found in tumours have bolstered immune responses to cancer in a small clinical trial.
Extreme cryptography paves way to personalized medicine
The dream for tomorrow’s medicine is to understand the links between DNA and disease — and to tailor therapies accordingly. But scientists working to realize such ‘personalized’ or ‘precision’ medicine have a problem: how to keep genetic data and medical records secure while still enabling the massive, cloud-based analyses needed to make meaningful associations. Now, tests of an emerging form of data encryption suggest that the dilemma can be solved.
UK mapped out by genetic ancestry
Researchers have found genetic signatures among Britons that betray their historical roots in particular locales of the United Kingdom, leading to the finest-scale map of genetic variation yet created. The analysis — which shows a snapshot of clusters of genetic variation in the late 1800s, when people were less likely to migrate far from their region of birth — reflects historical waves of migration by different populations into the island.
Mercury seen as never before
In its final weeks, the MESSENGER mission reveals fresh details about the planet’s scorched surface.
Conflict resolution: Wars without end
The world is full of bloody conflicts that can drag on for decades. Some researchers are trying to find resolutions through complexity science.
El Niño arrives later and weaker than expected
Long-awaited shift in tropical Pacific will have little effect on weather patterns.
Slick idea proposed to stretch water supplies
In drought-ridden US, water managers consider using a coating one molecule thick to reduce evaporation from reservoirs.
Physicists make ‘weather forecasts’ for economies
The development of some countries is as predictable as steady winds, but for others it is more chaotic, physicists find.