Finger Patterning Controlled by Turing Network

Your thumb, your pinky and every finger in between gets its unique position on the hand as the result of a self-organizing process called a Turing network, Jelena Raspopovic and colleagues report. The pattern takes its name from Alan Turing, better known as the father of theoretical computer science, and describes how a model he developed explains the self-regulated patterning of tissues in embryos. Turing networks have been used to describe pigmenting in fish and feather and hair patterning in chick and mouse embryos, but attempts to explain the hand’s digit patterning using this mechanism have fallen short until now. Raspopovic and colleagues now identify a network of molecular signaling by genes related to embryonic growth and they further confirmed the presence of a Turing network by using their mouse data to create a computer model that accurately reproduced the sequence of digit patterning. 

Read more about this research from the 1 August issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Jelena Raspopovic. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Finger Patterning Controlled by Turing Network

Your thumb, your pinky and every finger in between gets its unique position on the hand as the result of a self-organizing process called a Turing network, Jelena Raspopovic and colleagues report. The pattern takes its name from Alan Turing, better known as the father of theoretical computer science, and describes how a model he developed explains the self-regulated patterning of tissues in embryos. Turing networks have been used to describe pigmenting in fish and feather and hair patterning in chick and mouse embryos, but attempts to explain the hand’s digit patterning using this mechanism have fallen short until now. Raspopovic and colleagues now identify a network of molecular signaling by genes related to embryonic growth and they further confirmed the presence of a Turing network by using their mouse data to create a computer model that accurately reproduced the sequence of digit patterning.

Read more about this research from the 1 August issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Jelena Raspopovic. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.
A New Tool for Analyzing Cultural Mobility

A dataset on the birth and death locations of distinguished individuals over 2,000 years is providing insights into cultural mobility, a new study reports. To better understand the spread of disease, the rise of conflict, and the evolution of cities, researchers have needed a way to quantitatively analyze the impact of individual historical developments on societal practices. They used the migration patterns of more than 150,000 notable individuals, as represented by their birth and death locations, and suggest that the consistent global patterns uncovered with their framework will help provide guidance with respect to predicting growth, size and distance distributions going forward, as well as better interpreting of cultural phenomena. 

Read more about this research in the 1 August 2014 issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Maximilian Schich & Mauro Martino, 2014. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

A New Tool for Analyzing Cultural Mobility

A dataset on the birth and death locations of distinguished individuals over 2,000 years is providing insights into cultural mobility, a new study reports. To better understand the spread of disease, the rise of conflict, and the evolution of cities, researchers have needed a way to quantitatively analyze the impact of individual historical developments on societal practices. They used the migration patterns of more than 150,000 notable individuals, as represented by their birth and death locations, and suggest that the consistent global patterns uncovered with their framework will help provide guidance with respect to predicting growth, size and distance distributions going forward, as well as better interpreting of cultural phenomena.

Read more about this research in the 1 August 2014 issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Maximilian Schich & Mauro Martino, 2014. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Science at The White House Science Fair In this video, Elana Simon, a survivor of fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma and co-first author of a research study published in the journal Science, discusses both the research and her personal connection to it with President Barack Obama at The White House Science Fair on 27 May 2014.

[Video courtesy of The White House.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.
Diverse Ecosystems Get Organized for Stability

Ecological networks that are highly organized are more stable, a new study reports, meaning that changes to these networks don’t cause them to fall apart. The study found that the species living in highly ordered networks can experience very different growth rates, one to the next, without threatening the overall network structure. In less ordered, or nested, networks, by contrast, disproportionate growth rates may cause a species to be knocked out — even rendered extinct. Using data on the network structures of 23 plant-pollinator communities in the United Kingdom, the researchers showed that nestedness minimizes competition between species, boosts the number of species that can live together, and increases stability. A Perspective provides more insights.

Read more about this research from the 25 July issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Mark Chappell. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Diverse Ecosystems Get Organized for Stability

Ecological networks that are highly organized are more stable, a new study reports, meaning that changes to these networks don’t cause them to fall apart. The study found that the species living in highly ordered networks can experience very different growth rates, one to the next, without threatening the overall network structure. In less ordered, or nested, networks, by contrast, disproportionate growth rates may cause a species to be knocked out — even rendered extinct. Using data on the network structures of 23 plant-pollinator communities in the United Kingdom, the researchers showed that nestedness minimizes competition between species, boosts the number of species that can live together, and increases stability. A Perspective provides more insights.

Read more about this research from the 25 July issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Mark Chappell. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Feathers More Widespread Among Dinosaurs

Fossils unearthed in Siberia suggest that feathers may have been more widespread among dinosaurs than scientists have thought — limited not merely to the dinosaur clade associated with the first bird, but present among a vast array of dinosaur groups. Now, based on six partial skulls and several hundred skeletons unearthed from two locations in Russia, Pascal Godefroit et al. describe a new dinosaur outside the theropod group that displays feather-like structures. Their find, an ornithischian dinosaur they call Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus, suggests feathers were more widespread among dinosaurs. Their work supports earlier suggestions that feathers didn’t first arise for purposes of flight, but instead for insulation and/or signaling to attract mates, only later used for flying. 

Read more about this research from the 25 July issue of Science here.

[Drawing courtesy of Andrey Atuchin. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Feathers More Widespread Among Dinosaurs

Fossils unearthed in Siberia suggest that feathers may have been more widespread among dinosaurs than scientists have thought — limited not merely to the dinosaur clade associated with the first bird, but present among a vast array of dinosaur groups. Now, based on six partial skulls and several hundred skeletons unearthed from two locations in Russia, Pascal Godefroit et al. describe a new dinosaur outside the theropod group that displays feather-like structures. Their find, an ornithischian dinosaur they call Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus, suggests feathers were more widespread among dinosaurs. Their work supports earlier suggestions that feathers didn’t first arise for purposes of flight, but instead for insulation and/or signaling to attract mates, only later used for flying.

Read more about this research from the 25 July issue of Science here.

[Drawing courtesy of Andrey Atuchin. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Links Between Defaunation and Social Conflict

Efforts to conserve wildlife need to consider the ecological, social and economic factors that tend to drive defaunation in order to be truly successful, according to a Policy Forum by Justin Brashares and colleagues. The authors explain how declines in wildlife can lead to exploitative child labor practices and the proliferation of terrorism in certain parts of the world. Where species’ richness declines, human trafficking, organized crime and vigilante governance can often be seen to rise, they say. When animals disappear from the forests and oceans, increased labor is usually needed to keep up with demands — and increasingly, trafficked adults and children are being used to minimize production costs. They cite the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as an international model to follow.  

Read more about this research from the 25 July issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Lisa Kristine. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Links Between Defaunation and Social Conflict

Efforts to conserve wildlife need to consider the ecological, social and economic factors that tend to drive defaunation in order to be truly successful, according to a Policy Forum by Justin Brashares and colleagues. The authors explain how declines in wildlife can lead to exploitative child labor practices and the proliferation of terrorism in certain parts of the world. Where species’ richness declines, human trafficking, organized crime and vigilante governance can often be seen to rise, they say. When animals disappear from the forests and oceans, increased labor is usually needed to keep up with demands — and increasingly, trafficked adults and children are being used to minimize production costs. They cite the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as an international model to follow.

Read more about this research from the 25 July issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Lisa Kristine. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

The liver has a complex architecture with polarized epithelial cells called hepatocytes (beige) arranged into tracts called sinusoids. Hepatocytes along with other liver cell types including Kupffer cells (green) carry out more than 500 biological functions, including metabolic, synthetic, immune, and detoxification processes. The unique architecture of the liver presents special challenges for engineering liver tissue for transplantation, an urgent medical need given the insufficient number of donor organs available. In a State-of-the-Art Review, Bhatia and colleagues discuss these challenges and how advances in stem cell biology and engineering of tissues and devices are bringing the engineering of liver tissues for transplant closer to clinical reality. 

[Photo © V. Altounian/Science Translational Medicine]

Anyone wishing to use the cover of Science Translational Medicine must contact AAAS to request permission to do so.

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

The liver has a complex architecture with polarized epithelial cells called hepatocytes (beige) arranged into tracts called sinusoids. Hepatocytes along with other liver cell types including Kupffer cells (green) carry out more than 500 biological functions, including metabolic, synthetic, immune, and detoxification processes. The unique architecture of the liver presents special challenges for engineering liver tissue for transplantation, an urgent medical need given the insufficient number of donor organs available. In a State-of-the-Art Review, Bhatia and colleagues discuss these challenges and how advances in stem cell biology and engineering of tissues and devices are bringing the engineering of liver tissues for transplant closer to clinical reality.

[Photo © V. Altounian/Science Translational Medicine]

Anyone wishing to use the cover of Science Translational Medicine must contact AAAS to request permission to do so.

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Coupling of Pacific and Atlantic Climate Preceded Abrupt Change

Some of the most abrupt transitions in Earth’s climate over the past 20,000 years have occurred when the climates of the North Pacific and North Atlantic oceans have been coupled, according to a new study. This finding helps to answer a long-standing question about whether synchronous or asynchronous climate in the two regions leads to more significant global climate change. 

Read more about this research from the 25 July issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of F. Prahl. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Coupling of Pacific and Atlantic Climate Preceded Abrupt Change

Some of the most abrupt transitions in Earth’s climate over the past 20,000 years have occurred when the climates of the North Pacific and North Atlantic oceans have been coupled, according to a new study. This finding helps to answer a long-standing question about whether synchronous or asynchronous climate in the two regions leads to more significant global climate change.

Read more about this research from the 25 July issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of F. Prahl. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

New Strategy for Feeding More While Protecting the Environment

A new report by Paul West and colleagues suggests that focusing on a relatively short list of regions, crops and actions could provide new opportunities to improve global food security while simultaneously decreasing agriculture’s environmental footprint. The researchers gauged the impacts of water use, food waste, greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient pollution from sources like fertilizer with recently published geospatial data and models to identify what they call “global leverage points,” places where scientists and policymakers can target food-security efforts for the greatest impact. 

Read more about this research from the 18 July issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of West et al., Science/AAAS. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

New Strategy for Feeding More While Protecting the Environment

A new report by Paul West and colleagues suggests that focusing on a relatively short list of regions, crops and actions could provide new opportunities to improve global food security while simultaneously decreasing agriculture’s environmental footprint. The researchers gauged the impacts of water use, food waste, greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient pollution from sources like fertilizer with recently published geospatial data and models to identify what they call “global leverage points,” places where scientists and policymakers can target food-security efforts for the greatest impact.

Read more about this research from the 18 July issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of West et al., Science/AAAS. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.