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Current Issue of Nature


Volume 557 Issue 7706, 24 May 2018

Volume 557 Issue 7706, 24 May 2018

Volume 557 Issue 7706

Driving force

Taxis are a common mode of transport in most of the world’s cities, but is the size of the fleet optimal for the number and nature of trips undertaken? In this issue, Mohammad Vazifeh and his colleagues reveal that it is possible to deploy fewer cabs without causing delays to the passengers or requiring them to share taxis. The team used a network-based approach in which the individual vehicles (not the individual rides) are shared across the transport network, and they tested their scheme against the millions of taxi trips taken in New York City over the course of one year. With prior knowledge of the trips taken, they calculated that the same service could have been provided with a fleet 40% smaller than the one actually used; when the scheme is modified to work from real-time information, a saving of around 30% is possible. The result has implications not only for current taxi fleets but also for the potential deployment of self-driving vehicles in the future. The cover picture captures their optimization model in action: it shows one minute of taxi rides in New York City (dots represent destinations, while lines are trajectories). The right side of the image (yellow lines) represents the current situation; the left side of the image (blue lines) shows the reduced fleet that could be obtained using the team’s model.

Cover image: Snoweria Zhang, Irene de la Torre, Fábio Duarte/MIT Senseable City Lab

This Week

News in Focus

Comment

Technology

Careers

Futures

  • Futures |

    The course of true love.

    • D. A. Xiaolin Spires

Research

    News & Views

  • News & Views |

    Radio waves produced by cosmic lighthouses called pulsars are distorted by surrounding material. Observations show that this material can act as a lens, focusing the waves and boosting the brightness of the pulsar.

    • Jason Hessels
  • News & Views |

    The identification of genetic mutations that can hinder the development of human limbs has led to the discovery of an unanticipated mode of regulation for the WNT signalling pathway during limb development.

    • Jessica A. Lehoczky
    •  & Clifford J. Tabin
  • News & Views |

    An innovative computational analysis of factors that might have influenced human brain evolution suggests that ecological, rather than social, factors had a key role in the evolution of large, rapidly developing brains.

    • Richard McElreath
  • News & Views |

    Excitations called plasmons have the potential to miniaturize photonic devices, but are often short-lived. Microscopy reveals that plasmons in the material graphene can overcome this limitation at low temperatures.

    • Justin C. W. Song
  • News & Views Forum |

    A study finds that meeting climate-change mitigation targets will lead to a substantial reduction in economic damages. Here, economists present opposing views on the approach used by studies such as this one.

    • Wolfram Schlenker
    •  & Maximilian Auffhammer
  • Articles

  • Article |

    A large-scale mutagenesis screen identifies mutant phenotypes for over 11,000 protein-coding genes in bacteria that had previously not been assigned a specific function.

    • Morgan N. Price
    • , Kelly M. Wetmore
    • , R. Jordan Waters
    • , Mark Callaghan
    • , Jayashree Ray
    • , Hualan Liu
    • , Jennifer V. Kuehl
    • , Ryan A. Melnyk
    • , Jacob S. Lamson
    • , Yumi Suh
    • , Hans K. Carlson
    • , Zuelma Esquivel
    • , Harini Sadeeshkumar
    • , Romy Chakraborty
    • , Grant M. Zane
    • , Benjamin E. Rubin
    • , Judy D. Wall
    • , Axel Visel
    • , James Bristow
    • , Matthew J. Blow
    • , Adam P. Arkin
    •  & Adam M. Deutschbauer
  • Article |

    ANKRD16 attenuates neurodegeneration induced by a mutation in the editing domain of alanyl tRNA synthetase by directly accepting mis-activated serine from the synthetase before transfer to the tRNA, establishing a new mechanism by which editing defects are prevented.

    • My-Nuong Vo
    • , Markus Terrey
    • , Jeong Woong Lee
    • , Bappaditya Roy
    • , James J. Moresco
    • , Litao Sun
    • , Hongjun Fu
    • , Qi Liu
    • , Thomas G. Weber
    • , John R. Yates III
    • , Kurt Fredrick
    • , Paul Schimmel
    •  & Susan L. Ackerman
  • Letters

  • Letter |

    Radiation from the ‘black widow’ pulsar B1957+20 is amplified when a companion brown dwarf passes in front of the source, suggesting that plasma flowing from the companion acts as a lens.

    • Robert Main
    • , I-Sheng Yang
    • , Victor Chan
    • , Dongzi Li
    • , Fang Xi Lin
    • , Nikhil Mahajan
    • , Ue-Li Pen
    • , Keith Vanderlinde
    •  & Marten H. van Kerkwijk
  • Letter |

    The optical transmission spectrum for the ‘hot Saturn’ exoplanet WASP-96b reveals a clear atmosphere, an atmospheric sodium abundance and hence its metallicity, which is consistent with the metallicity trend observed in Solar System planets and exoplanets.

    • N. Nikolov
    • , D. K. Sing
    • , J. J. Fortney
    • , J. M. Goyal
    • , B. Drummond
    • , T. M. Evans
    • , N. P. Gibson
    • , E. J. W. De Mooij
    • , Z. Rustamkulov
    • , H. R. Wakeford
    • , B. Smalley
    • , A. J. Burgasser
    • , C. Hellier
    • , Ch. Helling
    • , N. J. Mayne
    • , N. Madhusudhan
    • , T. Kataria
    • , J. Baines
    • , A. L. Carter
    • , G. E. Ballester
    • , J. K. Barstow
    • , J. McCleery
    •  & J. J. Spake
  • Letter |

    The fundamental limits to plasmon damping in graphene are determined using nanoscale infrared imaging at cryogenic temperatures, and plasmon polaritons are observed to propagate over 10 micrometres in high-mobility encapsulated graphene.

    • G. X. Ni
    • , A. S. McLeod
    • , Z. Sun
    • , L. Wang
    • , L. Xiong
    • , K. W. Post
    • , S. S. Sunku
    • , B.-Y. Jiang
    • , J. Hone
    • , C. R. Dean
    • , M. M. Fogler
    •  & D. N. Basov
  • Letter |

    Liquid crystals are used to self-report and self-regulate either continuous or transient release of droplets or microparticles trapped within them in response to thermal, chemical, mechanical or biological stimuli.

    • Young-Ki Kim
    • , Xiaoguang Wang
    • , Pranati Mondkar
    • , Emre Bukusoglu
    •  & Nicholas L. Abbott
  • Letter |

    Using estimates of metabolic costs of the brain and body, mathematical predictions suggest that the evolution of adult Homo sapiens-sized brains and bodies is driven by ecological rather than social challenges and is perhaps strongly promoted by culture.

    • Mauricio González-Forero
    •  & Andy Gardner
  • Letter |

    Distinct strains of misfolded α-synuclein proteins, which aggregate in neurons in Lewy body diseases or in oligodendrocytes in multiple system atrophy, are formed as a consequence of differences between intracellular environments.

    • Chao Peng
    • , Ronald J. Gathagan
    • , Dustin J. Covell
    • , Coraima Medellin
    • , Anna Stieber
    • , John L. Robinson
    • , Bin Zhang
    • , Rose M. Pitkin
    • , Modupe F. Olufemi
    • , Kelvin C. Luk
    • , John Q. Trojanowski
    •  & Virginia M.-Y. Lee
  • Letter |

    Independently of the LGR4/5/6 receptors, RSPO2 acts as a direct antagonistic ligand to RNF43 and ZNRF3 during embryogenesis, and specifies the position and number of limbs that an embryo should form.

    • Emmanuelle Szenker-Ravi
    • , Umut Altunoglu
    • , Marc Leushacke
    • , Célia Bosso-Lefèvre
    • , Muznah Khatoo
    • , Hong Thi Tran
    • , Thomas Naert
    • , Rivka Noelanders
    • , Amin Hajamohideen
    • , Claire Beneteau
    • , Sergio B. de Sousa
    • , Birsen Karaman
    • , Xenia Latypova
    • , Seher Başaran
    • , Esra Börklü Yücel
    • , Thong Teck Tan
    • , Lena Vlaeminck
    • , Shalini S. Nayak
    • , Anju Shukla
    • , Katta Mohan Girisha
    • , Cédric Le Caignec
    • , Natalia Soshnikova
    • , Zehra Oya Uyguner
    • , Kris Vleminckx
    • , Nick Barker
    • , Hülya Kayserili
    •  & Bruno Reversade
  • Letter |

    The cell adhesion molecule Mxra8 is identified as a receptor for multiple arthritogenic alphaviruses such as chikungunya virus, and anti-Mxra8 monoclonal antibodies are shown to reduce rates of chikungunya virus infection in mice and a range of human cells.

    • Rong Zhang
    • , Arthur S. Kim
    • , Julie M. Fox
    • , Sharmila Nair
    • , Katherine Basore
    • , William B. Klimstra
    • , Rebecca Rimkunas
    • , Rachel H. Fong
    • , Hueylie Lin
    • , Subhajit Poddar
    • , James E. Crowe Jr
    • , Benjamin J. Doranz
    • , Daved H. Fremont
    •  & Michael S. Diamond
  • Letter |

    Human lung and colorectal tumours contain a population of tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes that are specific for tumour-unrelated antigens and, unlike tumour-antigen-specific tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes, do not express CD39.

    • Yannick Simoni
    • , Etienne Becht
    • , Michael Fehlings
    • , Chiew Yee Loh
    • , Si-Lin Koo
    • , Karen Wei Weng Teng
    • , Joe Poh Sheng Yeong
    • , Rahul Nahar
    • , Tong Zhang
    • , Hassen Kared
    • , Kaibo Duan
    • , Nicholas Ang
    • , Michael Poidinger
    • , Yin Yeng Lee
    • , Anis Larbi
    • , Alexis J. Khng
    • , Emile Tan
    • , Cherylin Fu
    • , Ronnie Mathew
    • , Melissa Teo
    • , Wan Teck Lim
    • , Chee Keong Toh
    • , Boon-Hean Ong
    • , Tina Koh
    • , Axel M. Hillmer
    • , Angela Takano
    • , Tony Kiat Hon Lim
    • , Eng Huat Tan
    • , Weiwei Zhai
    • , Daniel S. W. Tan
    • , Iain Beehuat Tan
    •  & Evan W. Newell
  • Letter |

    Microbial signals are crucial to the development of pre-leukaemic myeloproliferation, which can be induced by disrupting the intestinal barrier or by introducing systemic bacterial stimuli in Tet2-deficient mice.

    • Marlies Meisel
    • , Reinhard Hinterleitner
    • , Alain Pacis
    • , Li Chen
    • , Zachary M. Earley
    • , Toufic Mayassi
    • , Joseph F. Pierre
    • , Jordan D. Ernest
    • , Heather J. Galipeau
    • , Nikolaus Thuille
    • , Romain Bouziat
    • , Manuel Buscarlet
    • , Daina L. Ringus
    • , Yitang Wang
    • , Ye Li
    • , Vu Dinh
    • , Sangman M. Kim
    • , Benjamin D. McDonald
    • , Matthew A. Zurenski
    • , Mark W. Musch
    • , Glaucia C. Furtado
    • , Sergio A. Lira
    • , Gottfried Baier
    • , Eugene B. Chang
    • , A. Murat Eren
    • , Christopher R. Weber
    • , Lambert Busque
    • , Lucy A. Godley
    • , Elena F. Verdú
    • , Luis B. Barreiro
    •  & Bana Jabri
  • Letter |

    Crystal structures and molecular dynamics simulations of voltage-gated sodium channels containing mutations that cause hypokalaemic and normokalaemic periodic paralysis indicate the pathogenic mechanisms of these conditions and suggest a target for the design of potential therapeutic and symptomatic drugs.

    • Daohua Jiang
    • , Tamer M. Gamal El-Din
    • , Christopher Ing
    • , Peilong Lu
    • , Régis Pomès
    • , Ning Zheng
    •  & William A. Catterall

Spotlight

  • Spotlight |

    Spotlight on Hong Kong

    Hong Kong is using its proximity to science hubs in mainland China to encourage innovation, but barriers to collaboration remain.