a compensatory source of the
missing amino acid. The precise
mechanism for the protective
effect of the microbiota remains
PLOS Biol. 10.1371/journal.
Research experience is
not just for students
The benefits of authentic
research experiences for
undergraduate students are
well documented, but how do
research advisors benefit from
having undergraduate students
in their lab? Hayward et al.
interviewed 30 research advisors
at various career stages about
their motivation for supporting undergraduate research.
Responses indicated that a
blend of instrumental and intrinsic motivation influenced most
advisors, whereas a small group
of advisors, all in the early stages
of their careers, reported only
instrumental motivation. These
differences in motivations likely
affect the way that advisors work
with students and may serve as
the starting point for designing
RESEARCH | IN OTHER JOURNALS
new methods for training, and
retaining, high-quality research
CBE Life Sci. Educ . 10.1187/
A game of quantum catch
Realization of a quantum communication network or quantum
internet will depend on the
ability to successfully transfer
quantum states between nodes
of the network. Photons are
expected to be the carriers of
that information, but scattering
losses and a mismatch between
sender and receiver nodes can
limit their utility. By tuning
the energy levels of a receiver
dot and introducing filters that
suppress noise, Delteil et al.
demonstrate the transfer of
single photons from one quantum dot to another 5 m away.
Their method allows the receiver
dot to signal absorption of a
single photon without compromising the actual quantum state,
thereby presenting a possible
route for developing a larger
quantum network. —ISO
Phys. Rev. Lett. 118, 177401 (2017).
from maternal to zygotic con-
trol in development. —BAP
eLife 10.7554/eLife.22345 (2017).
Genes and BMI conspire
to make fatty liver
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
(NAFLD) is estimated to affect
20% of the world’s population. NAFLD begins with an
abnormal buildup of fat in the
liver that is “clinically silent.” In
a subset of individuals, NAFLD
progresses to liver inflammation, cirrhosis, and cancer.
Identifying which individuals
will progress is a major goal of
current research. Stender et
al. take a step toward this goal
by studying gene-environment
interactions. They find that
high BMI (body mass index),
a well-known risk factor for
NAFLD, amplifies the effects
of certain genetic risk factors.
Obese individuals carrying a
specific allele of the PNPLA3
gene, for example, have nearly a
sixfold greater risk of developing
cirrhosis than obese individuals
carrying a different allele. —PAK
Nat. Genet. 10.1038/ng.3855 (2017).
Mutualists endow certain
Life span and reproductive
success can depend on controlling dietary protein intake.
Yet the importance of gut
microbial symbionts in appetite control is not understood.
Leitão-Gonçalves et al. used the
fruitfly, Drosophila, to test what
influence their microbiota might
have on food choice. Fruitflies
like sugar, but after they have
mated, they prefer to eat yeast
to gain essential amino acids for
egg-making. By knocking out the
phenylalanine hydroxylase gene,
flies can be duped into sensing
that tyrosine is an essential
amino acid. If tyrosine is missing
from a chemically defined diet,
the engineered flies’ fecundity
falls and, if given the choice, they
will voraciously eat yeast to compensate for the missing nutrient.
If particular live microbiota
species (Acetobacter pomorum
and lactobacilli) are introduced
into the food of the engineered
flies, they lose their taste for
yeast and resume egg-laying.
Unexpectedly, the microbiota
do not seem to directly provide
Higher sea surface
increasing algal blooms
in northern oceans.
Expanding toxic algal blooms
Ocean temperatures in the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans have increased in recent decades, particularly in coastal areas. This has been associ- ated with increased algal blooms and,
where these blooms include algal species that
produce biotoxins, the potential for increases
in cases of paralytic and diarrhetic shellfish
poisoning. Gobler et al. used high-resolution
records of sea surface temperature from
1982 to 2016 and temperature-dependent
growth rates of two toxic algal species to
create models of harmful algal blooms. These
models were validated in areas of the North
Atlantic by observations in other studies of
increased bloom frequency and range that
matched predicted locations. This information
could potentially be used to predict the future
spread of harmful algal blooms and the consequent impact on human health. —CHG
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S. A. 114, 4975 (2017).