Reviews & Analysis

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  • Pharaoh ants live in highly organized colonies with elaborate social structure. An atlas of the brain cells of the different sexes and social groups of this ant reveals cell compositions tailored to the tasks performed by each group.

    • Bogdan Sieriebriennikov
    News & Views
  • Longitudinal data on gut microbiomes of wild baboons show that microbial communities are highly individualized, despite shared diet and environment within primate social groups.

    • Elin Videvall
    News & Views
  • Whole-genome sequencing and comparative omics analyses highlight recent and parallel paths to adaptive evolution involving expansions in zinc-binding proteins in the genomes of diverse cold-adapted algae.

    • Crysten E. Blaby-Haas
    News & Views
  • Examining the evolutionary history of ungulate migration shows that this behaviour has evolved multiple times in response to grassland expansion and increased seasonality of resources.

    • Marlee A. Tucker
    News & Views
  • Analysis of sediment and pore water from three seagrass meadows around the world reveals an unexpected accumulation of labile carbon in the marine rhizosphere, explained by sediment chemistry.

    • Yuntao Hu
    • Trent R. Northen
    News & Views
  • A computational method that negates the need to directly measure species interactions provides evidence in support of classic theory, stating that microbial communities with higher diversity remain stable as long they have low complexity and weaker interactions.

    • Akshit Goyal
    News & Views
  • For decades, the origin of mitochondria during eukaryogenesis has been viewed as a response to Earth’s oxygenation, but this has been challenged by more recent research. Here, the authors review recent literature, concluding that eukaryogenesis and the rise of oxygen were decoupled, and obligate aerosis in eukaryotes has only become widespread in the past 1 billion years

    • Daniel B. Mills
    • Richard A. Boyle
    • Timothy M. Lenton
    Review Article
  • Ocean afforestation is a proposed method for large-scale carbon dioxide removal, involving exporting rafts of nearshore macroalgae to the open ocean for long-term occupation and then sinking. In this Perspective, the authors caution that this approach has multiple potential ramifications for ocean chemistry and ecology.

    • Philip W. Boyd
    • Lennart T. Bach
    • Veronica Tamsitt
    Perspective
  • Simultaneous evolution of vaccine-induced immune escape and virulence leads to different evolutionary end points, depending on the type of vaccine-induced protection.

    • Veronika Bernhauerová
    News & Views
  • An analysis of phenotypic skew — the asymmetrical distributions of traits — explores how it can bias estimates of inheritance and selection, and how to correct for those biases.

    • David Houle
    News & Views
  • A large dataset quantifying variation in bird colourfulness lends support to a long-hypothesized latitudinal diversity gradient in animal colouration.

    • José Alexandre Felizola Diniz-Filho
    News & Views
  • Combining pantropical fish community surveys with bioenergetic models has revealed the global distribution of reef-fish ecosystem functions, and that trade-offs linked to demographic and trophic structure prevent any community from maximizing all functions simultaneously.

    • Matthew McLean
    News & Views
  • A framework to experimentally traverse the large space of functionally neutral variants in a toxin–antitoxin protein complex reveals insights on evolvability and entrenchment of molecular interactions.

    • Faruck Morcos
    News & Views
  • Analysis of the dynamics of transposons that encode resistance to different antibiotics shows that the movement of genes under positive selection from the chromosome to mobile genetic elements such as plasmids can be beneficial in bacteria. Once integrated into plasmids, these genes can spread by horizontal gene transfer.

    • Alvaro San Millan
    News & Views
  • Experimentally manipulating precipitation levels in a plant–soil feedback experiment reveals changes to the interactions between plants and soil microbes that render community dynamics less predictable under wetter conditions.

    • Po-Ju Ke
    News & Views
  • Taking advantage of natural variation present in six populations of wild orangutans, a new study correlates population density with multiple facets of individuals’ vocal phenotype and demonstrates that sociality influences vocal plasticity in great apes.

    • Ammie K. Kalan
    News & Views
  • Age estimation based on DNA methylation levels suggests that hibernation arrests biological ageing in wild yellow-bellied marmots.

    • Jordan A. Anderson
    • Jenny Tung
    News & Views
  • The rate of fixation of different antibiotic-resistance mutation types demonstrates a trade-off shaped by population size.

    • Isabel Gordo
    News & Views