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China expands DNA data grab in troubled western region

0SHARESShare Thomas Peter/Reuters China has boosted its security presence in the Xinjiang region, home to a large Uighur population. Police in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, China, have been collecting DNA samples from citizens and are now ramping up their capacity to analyse that genetic cache, according to evidence compiled by activists and details gathered by Nature. The advocacy group ...

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Fixing the tomato: CRISPR edits correct plant-breeding snafu

Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty A gene mutation that made tomatoes easier to harvest has been identified. From their giant fruits to compact plant size, today’s tomatoes have been sculpted by thousands of years of breeding. But mutations linked to prized traits — including one that made them easier to harvest — yield an undesirable plant when combined, geneticists have found1. It is ...

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Iron-dumping ocean experiment sparks controversy

0SHARESShare Blickwinkel/Alamy Phytoplankton need iron to make energy by photosynthesis. Marine scientists are raising the alarm about a proposal to drop tonnes of iron into the Pacific Ocean to stimulate the growth of phytoplankton, the base of the food web. The non-profit group behind the plan says that it wants to revive Chilean fisheries. It also has ties to a controversial ...

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Quantum computing, election pledges and a thief who made science history

0SHARESShare Facilities | Politics | Policy | Health | Events | Awards | Trend watch | Coming up FACILITIES SESAME open The opening on 16 May of a powerful synchrotron light source near Amman, Jordan, marks a new era of scientific partnership in the Middle East. SESAME (Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East), a collaboration currently ...

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Publish houses of brick, not mansions of straw

I worry about sloppiness in biomedical research: too many published results are true only under narrow conditions, or cannot be reproduced at all. The causes are diverse, but what I see as the biggest culprit is hardly discussed. Like the proverbial boiled frog that failed to leap from a slowly warming pot of water, biomedical researchers are stuck in a ...

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Eighty-eight days till the next total eclipse of the Sun

Rob Stothard/Getty Solar eclipses have long fascinated people across the world. In an Editorial written in these pages in January 1900, the editor of Nature took the unusual step of describing something that bugged him. More, he listed the singular moment, almost 30 years previously, when he had “never felt more annoyed in my life”. Norman Lockyer, this journal’s founder ...

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Intelligence research should not be held back by its past

Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Intelligence is affected by genes as well as education, but the links are hard to unpick. “What most people know about intelligence is, at best, distorted and, at worst, just wrong.” That’s according to the editor of the journal Intelligence, in a 2014 special issue that addressed the teaching of the subject (Intelligence 42, 135; 2014). The same ...

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Clock is ticking for WHO decision over Taiwan

Richard Chung/Reuters/Alamy Taiwanese health researchers could be left in the dark if Taiwan does not attend the next WHO summit. A showdown is looming at next week’s annual meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Switzerland. For almost a decade, Taiwan — despite not being a member of the United Nations — has been permitted to attend WHO events ...

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Schiaparelli: Crashed lander was ill-prepared for Mars

0SHARESShare The crashed European spacecraft Schiaparelli was ill-prepared for its attempt at landing on the surface of Mars. That’s the conclusion of an inquiry into the failure on 16 October 2016. The report outlines failings during the development process and makes several recommendations ahead of an attempt to land a rover on Mars in 2020. That mission will require more ...

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When Hatred Goes Viral: Inside Social Media's Efforts to Combat Terrorism

On New Year’s Eve in 2015 local and federal agents arrested a 26-year-old man in Rochester, N.Y., for planning to attack people at random later that night using knives and a machete. Just before his capture Emanuel L. Lutchman had made a video—to be posted to social media following the attack—in which he pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State ...

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