Editors' Choice

Science  17 Jun 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6292, pp. 1422
  1. Atmospheric Aerosols

    Nanoparticle growth in the CLOUD chamber

    1. H. Jesse Smith

    A view of the interior of the CERN CLOUD chamber


    Atmospheric ions and small acid-base clusters can participate in the growth of atmospheric nanoparticles. These species generally are not considered in models of aerosol formation from sulfuric acid vapor and so have not been included in estimates of new particle growth rates. Lehtipalo et al. measured growth rates of particles smaller than 3 nm in the CLOUD chamber at CERN and found that compounds that stabilize sulfuric acid clusters can control the magnitude of these effects, leading to higher growth rates and affecting the growth mechanism.

    Nat. Comm. 10.1038/ncomms11594 (2016).

  2. Medicine

    Replacing factor VIII replacement?

    1. Paula A. Kiberstis

    Hemophilia A is a bleeding disorder caused by a deficiency of factor VIII, a protein essential for blood clotting. Injection of recombinant or plasma-derived factor VIII is an effective prophylactic treatment. Factor replacement therapy has drawbacks, however, as it requires multiple injections each week and can induce antibodies that inhibit factor VIII. Shima et al. clinically tested an alternative therapy: an engineered bispecific antibody called emicizumab that mimics the critical function of factor VIII, which is to bridge together clotting factors IXa and X. Nineteen patients with severe hemophilia A were injected with emicizumab once a week for 12 weeks. Most patients showed reduced bleeding rates without adverse effects.

    N. Engl. J. Med. 374, 21 (2016).

  3. Climate Change Ecology

    Mountain forests in a warming world

    1. Andrew M. Sugden

    Paleoecological records of past distributions of plants and animals can be useful guides to their potential responses to current changing climate. Ivory et al. compared the present distributions of several common species of African mountain forests with their distributions (inferred from pollen records) in the mid-Holocene and Last Glacial Maximum (6000 and 21,000 years ago, respectively). Paleoclimate data indicate that these species occupied warmer habitats than those in which they currently occur, in some cases expanding their ranges into the lowlands. Hence, present-day distributions of these species are not necessarily representative of their entire climatic niche space. Their future response to a warming climate may thus be more constrained by human land use than by increasing temperature.

    Global Ecol. Biogeogr. 10.1111/geb.12446 (2016).

  4. Paleontology

    Dino dung beetles

    1. Sacha Vignieri

    Dinosaur dung led to dung beetle diversity.


    Insects are one of the most speciose groups, and the rise in their diversity has often been attributed to the rise of angiosperms. However, not all insects are herbivores, and the scarab family of beetles is a notably diverse example. Gunter et al. asked what drove this family's high levels of speciation and found that the monophyletic group's diversification also appears to be indirectly connected to the emergence of angiosperms. In particular, they found that dung beetles experienced a rapid radiation at about the time that angiosperms became a part of dinosaur diets. Thus, the rise of more easily digestible angiosperms allowed beetles to process dung long before the rise of mammals.

    PLOS ONE 10.1371/journal.pone.0153570 (2016).

  5. Polymer Chemistry

    Photoinitiation with boron clusters

    1. Phil Szuromi

    Nonmetallic photoinitiators of polymerization are gaining interest for biomedical and electronics applications in which metal compounds are toxic or their presence reduces performance. Messina et al. report on boron clusters [B12(OR)12, where R is a phenyl or pentafluorophenyl group] that act as photoinitiators with blue light for the polymerization of olefins. These compounds photoionize and can initiate the reaction via one-electron transfer (creating a cluster radical anion and a monomer radical cation) to both electron-rich and electron-deficient styrene monomers at very low loadings (0.005 mol %). Even monomers such as isobutylene yielded highly branched polymers when the highly electron-withdrawing fluorinated initiator was used.

    J. Am. Chem. Soc. 10.1021/jacs.6b03568 (2016).

  6. Psychology

    How to advertise eco-friendly products

    1. Julia Fahrenkamp-Uppenbrink

    Have you ever found yourself trying to decide whether to buy an eco-friendly washing powder or one of the regular alternatives? Goldsmith et al. show that such decisions depend on the mental state of the consumer. The authors induced an abstract mindset by asking participants to write about their life one year from tomorrow. In this mindset, the participants were less likely to choose an eco-friendly product promoted for its economic benefits. In contrast, they tended to act based on economic self-interest when in a concrete mindset induced by writing about their life tomorrow. So a television advertisement aiming to influence future purchases may be more successful if it emphasizes environmental benefits; for instore decisions, self-interest is the rule of the day.

    Nat. Clim. Change 10.1038/nclimate3019 (2016).

  7. Aging

    Longer life? It's all in the head

    1. L. Bryan Ray

    Caloric restriction extends life span and helps ward off diseases of aging in model organisms and may do so in primates as well. It's not pleasant, though, so a way to mimic its effect with a drug would be more appealing. Lucanic et al. screened for such a compound in the worm Caenorhabditis elegans and found one that extended life span in a manner similar to dietary restriction. Experiments to trace the point of action of the compound indicated that it may act by limiting activity in a neuronal pathway that senses the presence of food. Thus, sensory signaling pathways might be targets for agents that could mimic beneficial effects of dietary restriction on aging and health span.

    Aging Cell. 10.1111/acel.12492 (2016).