Renewable energy costs in developing countries and more stories

Latest news from Nature 15 April 2012

This press release contains:

--- Summaries of newsworthy papers:

Geoscience: No glacier melt in a greater Himalaya mountain range

Nature: Treatment-resistant acute myeloid leukaemia mutants

Climate Change: Renewable energy costs in developing countries

Photonics: Electrically driven single-photon source at room temperature

Chemistry: 3D printing for custom chemistry

And finally…Neuroscience: Focus on social neuroscience

--- Mention of papers to be published at the same time with the same embargo

--- Geographical listing of authors

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[1] Geoscience: No glacier melt in a greater Himalaya mountain range

DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1450

Glaciers in the Karakoram mountain range, located at the intersection of China, India and Pakistan, have been stable despite global mass loss of mountain glaciers. The research, published online this week in Nature Geoscience, reports that the anomalous behaviour of glaciers in this particular mountain range emphasizes the local differences between glaciers, as substantial ice loss has been detected in the neighbouring Himalaya range.

Julie Gardelle and colleagues calculated the differences between two digital elevation maps, taken in 2000 and 2008. They assess about one quarter of the region of the Karakoram range, and find that glaciers gained a small amount of mass over that period. Anomalous behaviour of the Karakoram glaciers had been suspected but not confirmed with measurements, owing to the inaccessibility of the terrain.

In an accompanying News and Views article, Graham Cogley suggests that if the mass balance measurements reported in this study are representative for all the Karakoram glaciers, ice loss in this region contributed less to sea-level change in the past decade than implied by a previous estimate.

Author contacts:

Julie Gardelle (Université Grenoble, France)
Tel: +33 4 76 82 42 06; E-mail: [email protected]

J. Graham Cogley (Trent University, Peterborough, Canada) N&V author
Tel: +1 705 748 1011, ext. 7686; E-mail: [email protected]


[2] Nature: Treatment-resistant acute myeloid leukaemia mutants

DOI: 10.1038/nature11016

A mutation frequently seen in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), a form of blood cancer, is established as a viable therapeutic target in a subset of AML cases in this week’s Nature. The mutated gene encodes an activated version of a protein called FLT3, which is normally involved in the generation of blood cells. Secondary mutations in FLT3 are shown to cause resistance to AML treatment.

Activating mutations in the FLT3 gene are found in about 20% of AML patients and are associated with poor prognosis. Whether these mutations are drivers of disease has been unclear, but Neil Shah and colleagues demonstrate that FLT3 mutations may have a causal role in AML development. They discover secondary FLT3 mutations in a small group of AML patients that confers resistance to AC220, an FLT3-inhibiting drug currently being evaluated for the treatment of AML. This finding suggests that further research is needed to develop novel drugs that can target FLT3 with secondary mutations, the authors conclude.

Author contact:

Neil Shah (University of California San Francisco, CA, USA)
Tel: +1 415 476 3303; E-mail: [email protected]


[3] Climate Change: Renewable energy costs in developing countries

DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1490

A more fine-grained bottom-up approach to climate change can identify important climate variations across countries as well as what technologies would help in meeting emission-reduction goals, reports a paper published this week in Nature Climate Change.

At the 2010 Cancún meeting on climate change, nations agreed on a number of new mechanisms — such as the Green Climate Fund — to support financially the greenhouse-gas emissions abatement efforts of developing countries. Renewable energy technologies have a great role to play, but the discussion about their adoption in developing countries is traditionally informed by highly aggregated top-down cost analyses that hide important cross-country differences.

Tobias Schmidt and colleagues estimated the costs of photovoltaic (PV) and wind energy technologies in six very different developing countries: Brazil, Nicaragua, Egypt, Kenya, India and Thailand. With their detailed bottom-up approach, they estimated that PV electricity costs are by far larger than wind costs in all countries (between 2.2 to 4.5 times in 2010) and are likely to remain so at least until 2020 (between 1.7 and 3.4 times). However, the incremental electricity cost of wind (the cost of wind energy minus the cost of baseline energy) varies significantly across countries. In particular, it is very high in Brazil, India and Thailand, much lower in Egypt and negative in Kenya and Nicaragua where the high baseline costs by far exceed the costs of wind. The authors emphasize the importance of a fair methodology to calculate the incremental costs, which ideally should exclude fossil-fuel subsidies from the baseline.

In light of the country–technology patterns identified, the researchers discuss the best approaches to scale-up renewable technologies. They suggest that large developing countries with good institutional capacities should rely on nationally appropriate mitigation actions to address country–technology combinations through technology-specific feed-in tariffs on a national level. In contrast, small countries are more likely to succeed under a reformed Clean Development Mechanism.

Author contact:

Tobias Schmidt (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
Tel: +41 44 632 0486; E-mail: [email protected]


[4] Photonics: Electrically driven single-photon source at room temperature

DOI: 10.1038/nphoton.2012.75

Electrically driven single-photon generation at room temperature is reported in Nature Photonics this week. The work could help realize practical quantum communications schemes such as quantum cryptography and quantum computing.

Today’s single-photon-generating schemes are either optically driven at room temperature or electrically driven at cryogenic temperatures. Norikazu Mizuochi and colleagues achieve the best of both — room-temperature electrically driven operation — by exploiting an impurity-free region in a diamond diode. The device is capable of generating 40,000 photons per second at an injection current of 14 milliamperes, which is comparable to the driving current of commercially available light-emitting diodes.

Author contact:

Norikazu Mizuochi (Osaka University, Japan)
Tel: +81 6 6850 6426; E-mail: [email protected]


[5] Chemistry: 3D printing for custom chemistry

DOI: 10.1038/nchem.1313

The use of 3D printing to create tailor-made containers for chemical reactions is reported online in Nature Chemistry this week. This technique puts the design, construction and operation of custom labware under digital control and offers researchers rapid access to almost any reaction vessel they can imagine.

Leroy Cronin and colleagues use a relatively low-cost commercially available 3D printing platform with open-source design software to produce a range of what they call ‘reactionware’. The basic material used to make the reactionware is simply a bathroom sealant, which is a quick-setting polymer, but additional components — such as observation windows or electrodes — can be incorporated during the printing process. Catalysts can also be printed into the walls of the reactionware to create reactors that actively participate in chemical reactions, something that is not possible with traditional labware.

In an accompanying News & Views article, R. Daniel Johnson says that, “One promising aspect of this idea is that 3D printing enables the rapid preparation of complex reactor systems that would not otherwise be readily accessible.”

Author contacts:

Leroy Cronin (University of Glasgow, UK)
Tel: +44 141 330 6650; E-mail: [email protected]

R. Daniel Johnson (Murray State University, KY, USA) N&V author
Tel: +1 270 809 4279; E-mail: [email protected]

[6], [7], [8], [9], [10], & [11] And finally…Neuroscience: Focus on social neuroscience

DOI: 10.1038/nn.3087
DOI: 10.1038/nn.3093
DOI: 10.1038/nn.3084
DOI: 10.1038/nn.3086
DOI: 10.1038/nn.3085
DOI: 10.1038/nn.3083

The neural underpinnings of social behaviour are discussed in a special collection of review and opinion articles published this week in Nature Neuroscience.

In a pair of complementary perspective articles, Naomi Eisenberger and Andreas Meyer-Lindberg describe the cross-talk between social factors in everyday life and physical and mental health, respectively: social disconnection and stress is associated with more bodily illness, as well as a higher risk for disorders such as schizophrenia. However, the brain is an extremely plastic organ, and in their piece, Richard Davidson and Bruce McEwen review how interventions such as meditation are likely to result in brain plasticity associated with positive outcomes. They also look at animal work suggesting that both positive and negative factors can result in structural and functional changes in the brain.

Other articles in the special issue review how hormones such as oxytocin and testosterone modulate social behaviors ranging from friendliness to aggression in both animals and humans, and a critical review of studies of how the brain produces empathy, the ability to feel what another person is feeling, amongst other topics.

Author contacts:

Rene Marois (Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA) Author paper [6]
Tel: +1 615 322 1779; E-mail: [email protected]

Richard Davidson (University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA) Author paper [7]
Tel: +1 608 265 8189; E-mail: [email protected]

Tania Singer (Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany) Author paper [8]
Tel: +49 341 9940 2686; E-mail: [email protected]

Naomi Eisenberger (University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA) Author paper [9]
Tel: +1 310 267 5196; E-mail: [email protected]

Jamil Zaki (Harvard University, Boston, MA, USA) Author paper [10]
Tel: +1 917 838 3795; E-mail: [email protected]

Heike Tost (Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim, Germany) Author paper [11]
Tel: +49 621 17035608; E-mail: [email protected]


[12] A novel putative auxin carrier family regulates intracellular auxin homeostasis in plants
DOI: 10.1038/nature11001

[13] Live-cell delamination counterbalances epithelial growth to limit tissue overcrowding
DOI: 10.1038/nature10984

[14] Crowding induces live cell extrusion to maintain homeostatic cell numbers in epithelia
DOI: 10.1038/nature10999

[15] Cell attachment protein VP8* of a human rotavirus specifically interacts with A-type histo-blood group antigen
DOI: 10.1038/nature10996

[16] A Xanthomonas uridine 5’-monophosphate transferase inhibits plant immune kinases
DOI: 10.1038/nature10962


[17] Plasma membrane stress induces relocalization of Slm proteins and activation of TORC2 to promote sphingolipid synthesis
DOI: 10.1038/ncb2480

[18] Regulation of epithelial polarity by the E3 ubiquitin ligase Neuralized and the Bearded inhibitors in Drosophila
DOI: 10.1038/ncb2481


[19] Trp-tRNA synthetase bridges DNA-PKcs to PARP-1 to link IFN-gamma and p53 signaling
DOI: 10.1038/nchembio.937

[20] Synthetic oligonucleotides recruit ILF2/3 to RNA transcripts to modulate splicing
DOI: 10.1038/nchembio.939


[21] Acyclic cucurbit[n]uril molecular containers enhance the solubility and bioactivity of poorly soluble pharmaceuticals
DOI: 10.1038/nchem.1326

[22] A gold-catalysed enantioselective Cope rearrangement of achiral 1,5-dienes
DOI: 10.1038/nchem.1327


[23] Changes in pH at the exterior surface of plankton with ocean acidification
DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1489

[24] Offsetting under pressure
DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1510


[25] Common variants at 12q14 and 12q24 are associated with hippocampal volume
DOI: 10.1038/ng.2237

[26] Common variants at 12q15 and 12q24 are associated with infant head circumference
DOI: 10.1038/ng.2238

[27] Common variants at 6q22 and 17q21 are associated with intracranial volume
DOI: 10.1038/ng.2245

[28] Genome-wide meta-analysis identifies 56 bone mineral density loci and reveals 14 loci associated with risk of fracture
DOI: 10.1038/ng.2249

[29] Identification of common variants associated with human hippocampal and intracranial volumes
DOI: 10.1038/ng.2250


[30] An oxyhydride of BaTiO3 exhibiting hydride exchange and electronic conductivity
DOI: 10.1038/nmat3302

[31] Polarized X-ray scattering reveals non-crystalline orientational ordering in organic films
DOI: 10.1038/nmat3310


[32] A brain tumor molecular imaging strategy using a new triple-modality MRI-photoacoustic-Raman nanoparticle
DOI: 10.1038/nm.2721

[33] Adora2b-elicited Per2 stabilization promotes a HIF-dependent metabolic switch crucial for myocardial adaptation to ischemia
DOI: 10.1038/nm.2728

[34] Mitochondrial transfer from bone-marrow–derived stromal cells to pulmonary alveoli protects against acute lung injury
DOI: 10.1038/nm.2736


[35] Predicting bacterial community assemblages using an artificial neural network approach
DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.1975

[36] Three-dimensional RNA structure refinement by hydroxyl radical probing
DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.1976


[37] A robust scanning diamond sensor for nanoscale imaging with single nitrogen-vacancy centres
DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2012.50

[38] Optical detection of single non-absorbing molecules using the surface plasmon resonance of a gold nanorod
DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2012.51

[39] An atlas of carbon nanotube optical transitions
DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2012.52


[40] Giant half-cycle attosecond pulses
DOI: 10.1038/nphoton.2012.76

[41] Observing the localization of light in space and time by ultrafast second-harmonic microscopy
DOI: 10.1038/nphoton.2012.69

Nature PHYSICS (

[42] Surface conduction of topological Dirac electrons in bulk insulating Bi2Se3

DOI: 10.1038/nphys2286

[43] Visualization of geometric influences on proximity effects in heterogeneous superconductor thin films
DOI: 10.1038/nphys2287


[44] Heterochromatin protein 1 forms distinct complexes to direct histone deacetylation and DNA methylation
DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.2274

[45] Antidiabetic phospholipid–nuclear receptor complex reveals the mechanism for phospholipid-driven gene regulation
DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.2279

[46] Structure of the c10 ring of the yeast mitochondrial ATP synthase in the open conformation
DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.2284



The following list of places refers to the whereabouts of authors on the papers numbered in this release. The listing may be for an author's main affiliation, or for a place where they are working temporarily. Please see the PDF of the paper for full details.


Clayton: 23, 31
Sydney: 23

Vienna: 12


Ghent: 12


Rio de Janeiro: 39


Victoria: 33


Beijing: 16, 39
Haikou: 16
Jiangsu: 19
Shenzhen: 16
Xi’an: 39


Olomouc: 12
Praha: 12


Nantes: 15
Paris: 18
Rennes: 30


Erlangen: 31
Frankfurt: 33, 46
Garching: 40
Goettingen: 44
Ilmenau: 41
Leipzig: 8
Mannheim: 11
Martinsried: 17
Oldenburg: 41
Stuttgart: 4
Ulm: 4


Budapest: 4


Hyogo: 30
Ibaraki: 4
Kyoto: 30
Okayama: 30
Osaka: 4
Saitama: 4
Tokyo: 41
Yokohama: 30


Seoul: 19


Leiden: 38


Furuflaten: 5


Lisbon: 38


Basel: 44
Fribourg: 12
Geneva: 17
Lausanne: 12
Zurich: 3


Cambridge: 31
Dundee: 23
Glasgow: 5
London: 13
Plymouth: 23
Swansea: 23
Wallingford: 35


Berkeley: 2, 31, 39
Davis: 22
La Jolla: 19
Livermore: 42
Los Angeles: 9
Menlo Park: 2
San Diego: 2
San Francisco: 2
Santa Barbara: 31
Stanford: 32
Aurora: 33
New Haven: 17
Jupiter: 19, 45
Athens: 44
Atlanta: 15, 45
Argonne: 35
Chicago: 35, 46
Urbana: 42
Baltimore: 2
College Park: 21, 42
Gaithersburg: 42
Boston: 6
Cambridge: 2, 10, 37
New Mexico
Los Alamos: 40
New York
Cold Spring Harbor: 20
New York: 2, 7, 10, 32, 34
North Carolina
Chapel Hill: 22, 36
Raleigh: 31
Eugene: 44
Philmath: 14
Philadelphia: 2
Nashville: 6
Austin: 19, 42
Houston: 15
Salt Lake City: 14
Madison: 7



For media inquiries relating to embargo policy for all the Nature Research Journals:

Rachel Twinn (Nature London)
Tel: +44 20 7843 4658; E-mail: [email protected]

Neda Afsarmanesh (Nature New York)
Tel: +1 212 726 9231; E-mail: [email protected]

Eiji Matsuda (Nature Tokyo)
Tel: +81 3 3267 8751; E-mail: [email protected]

For media inquiries relating to editorial content/policy for the Nature Research Journals, please contact the journals individually:

Nature Biotechnology (New York)
Michael Francisco
Tel: +1 212 726 9288; E-mail: [email protected]

Nature Cell Biology (London)
Sowmya Swaminathan
Tel: +44 20 7843 4656; E-mail: [email protected]

Nature Chemical Biology (Boston)
Elissa Bolt
Tel: +1 617 475 9241, E-mail: chemb[email protected]

Nature Chemistry (London)
Stuart Cantrill
Tel: +44 20 7014 4018; E-mail: [email protected]

Nature Climate Change (London)
Rory Howlett
Tel: +44 20 7014 4009; E-mail: [email protected]

Nature Genetics (New York)
Myles Axton
Tel: +1 212 726 9324; E-mail: [email protected]

Nature Geoscience (London)
Heike Langenberg
Tel: +44 20 7843 4042; E-mail: [email protected]

Nature Immunology (New York)
Laurie Dempsey
Tel: +1 212 726 9372; E-mail: [email protected]

Nature Materials (London)
Vincent Dusastre
Tel: +44 20 7843 4531; E-mail: [email protected]

Nature Medicine (New York)
Juan Carlos Lopez
Tel: +1 212 726 9325; E-mail: [email protected]

Nature Methods (New York)
Ray Parker
Tel: +1 212 726 9627; E-mail: [email protected]

Nature Nanotechnology (London)
Peter Rodgers
Tel: +44 20 7014 4019; Email: [email protected]

Nature Neuroscience (New York)
Kalyani Narasimhan
Tel: +1 212 726 9319; E-mail: [email protected]

Nature Photonics (Tokyo)
Oliver Graydon
Tel: +81 3 3267 8776; E-mail: [email protected]

Nature Physics (London)
Alison Wright
Tel: +44 20 7843 4555; E-mail: [email protected]

Nature Structural & Molecular Biology (New York)
Michelle Montoya
Tel: +1 212 726 9331; E-mail: [email protected]

Published: 15 Apr 2012

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