Instagram for science communication, diet drugs suppress mosquitos’ thirst for blood, and how to scrub the world of non-stick chemicals

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Yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) on human skin, coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM)

Researchers have discovered a way to stop mosquitoes from biting by making them feel full, using drugs designed to suppress human appetites. Neurobiologist Leslie Vosshall says that she decided to take this “completely zany” approach “as kind of a lark”, but now sees promise in the method for controlling mosquito-borne diseases. The next step: design a sufficiently powerful mosquito-specific diet drug that avoids unwanted effects on people.

Nature | 5 min read

Quake-prone Myanmar has transformed itself into a leader in seismic monitoring in southeast Asia, using a high-tech network of 21 seismic-monitoring stations dotted around the country. Local and international researchers are working together to help optimize life-saving earthquake and tsunami warnings — although foreign scientists are banned from areas where the government-sanctioned military-led campaign of violence continues against the Rohingya minority group.

Nature | 6 min read

The lamprey is known for its resilience: after its spinal cord is severed, it can regrow part of its central nervous system and resume swimming normally. Now, scientists have discovered that the creature can repeat the feat even if the same site is re-injured.

Nature Research Highlights | 1 min read

Reference: PLOS One paper

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Researchers are hunting for “one of the most complex groups of pollutants out there” — fluorochemicals. These carbon chains swaddled in fluorine atoms have a unique ability to repel both grease and water, making them ideal for everything from food wrappings to fire-fighting foams. But they don’t degrade, and some of them have already been banned because of their danger to human health. Now, environmental chemists, epidemiologists and toxicologists are trying to determine just how many variations of these chemicals saturate our environment — and what to do with them.

Nature | 26 min read

There is evidence that green tea, or some of its chemical components, can guard against cancer. But after decades of population-based health studies, and even clinical trials in people with cancer, scientists are struggling to translate promising initial results into meaningful benefits.

Nature | 10 min read

This article is editorially independent and was produced with financial support from Hunan Agricultural University.

Researchers have added a new enzyme to their gene-editing toolkit: CRISPR-CasX. Discover the new, smaller CRISPR protein in this week’s podcast. Plus, ultraviolet light reveals that some flying squirrels secretly glow hot pink and researchers are hoping to speed up drug discovery by virtually screening millions of chemicals.

Nature Podcast | 25 min listen

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Barbara Kiser’s pick of the top five science books to read this week includes the history of distant worlds, a clear eye on renewables and environmental lessons from a tiger’s tale.

Nature | 2 min read



Don’t shy away from Instagram when considering social networks that can amplify your science. Microbiologists Hunter Hines and Sally Warring offer their case studies for making the most of the image-focused community.

Nature | 6 min read


A diver takes a green sea turtle’s measurements at Sea Life Timmendorfer Strand in Germany.

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Flora Graham, senior editor, Nature Briefing

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