The impact of the booming Chinese economy on the quality of the nation’s air and water has garnered a lot of attention recently. Now, focus is turning to another polluted realm: the very ground beneath China’s feet.

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Manhattan skyscrapers, rather than rustic rural towns, are quickly becoming the picture of sustainable living in the twenty-first century. San Francisco, Copenhagen and Singapore each top their regions in the Green City Index. As sites of innovation and economic dynamism, these places exemplify a blend of density and livability that large, prosperous cities in the 'global south', such as Mumbai in India and São Paulo in Brazil, increasingly emulate.

The threats of old are still the dominant drivers of current species loss, indicates an analysis of IUCN Red List data by Sean Maxwell and colleagues.

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Chagas disease, leishmaniasis and sleeping sickness affect 20 million people worldwide and lead to more than 50,000 deaths annually. The diseases are caused by infection with the kinetoplastid parasites Trypanosoma cruzi, Leishmania spp. and Trypanosoma brucei spp., respectively. These parasites have similar biology and genomic sequence, suggesting that all three diseases could be cured with drug(s) modulating the activity of a conserved parasite target. However, no such molecular targets or broad spectrum drugs have been identified to date.

International cooperation is needed to stop developed nations simply offloading defunct electronics on developing countries, argue Zhaohua Wang, Bin Zhang and Dabo Guan.

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The vast majority of systemic bacterial infections are caused by facultative, often antibiotic-resistant, pathogens colonizing human body surfaces. Nasal carriage of Staphylococcus aureus predisposes to invasive infection, but the mechanisms that permit or interfere with pathogen colonization are largely unknown. Whereas soil microbes are known to compete by production of antibiotics, such processes have rarely been reported for human microbiota.

Data from over 2,500 reefs worldwide is used to identify 15 bright spots—sites where reef biomass is significantly higher than expected—and surveys of local experts in these areas suggest that strong sociocultural institutions and high levels of local engagement are among the factors supporting higher fish biomass.

Here it is shown that the late twentieth century warming trends in the Antarctic Peninsula have ceased, with the Peninsula having instead been cooling for most of the twenty-first century, underscoring the considerable internal variability within the Antarctic climate system.

A high-resolution gene expression atlas of prenatal and postnatal brain development of rhesus monkey charts global transcriptional dynamics in relation to brain maturation, while comparative analysis reveals human-specific gene trajectories; candidate risk genes associated with human neurodevelopmental disorders tend to be co-expressed in disease-specific patterns in the developing monkey neocortex.

With concerns about climate 'extremes' growing1, water is often the focus — either too much or too little. That is no coincidence: climate and the hydrological cycle are tightly coupled, and water is essential to ecosystems and societies. But it is not just the quantity of water that matters. So does its quality.

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