Rhino- and enteroviruses are important human pathogens, against which no antivirals are available. The best-studied inhibitors are “capsid binders” that fit in a hydrophobic pocket of the viral capsid.

Use of tobacco products is injurious to health in men and women. However, tobacco use by pregnant women receives greater scrutiny because it can also compromise the health of future generations. More men smoke cigarettes than women. Yet the impact of nicotine use by men upon their descendants has not been as widely scrutinized.

Pterosaurs were winged cousins of the dinosaurs and lived from around 200 million years ago to 66 million years ago, when the last pterosaurs disappeared during the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs. The pterosaurs are thought to have declined in diversity before their final extinction, suggesting that gradual processes played a major role in their demise. However, pterosaur fossils are very rare, and thus, it is unclear whether pterosaurs were really low in diversity at this time or whether these patterns merely result from a paucity of fossils.

Within the human host, the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum is exposed to multiple selection pressures. The host environment changes dramatically in severe malaria, but the extent to which the parasite responds to—or is selected by—this environment remains unclear. From previous studies, the parasites that cause severe malaria appear to increase expression of a restricted but poorly defined subset of the PfEMP1 variant, surface antigens. PfEMP1s are major targets of protective immunity.

Healthy marine ecosystems are crucial for people’s livelihoods and food production. Global climate stressors, such as warming and ocean acidification, can drastically impact the structure and function of marine food webs, diminishing the production of goods and services. Our ability to predict how future food webs will respond to a changing environment is limited by our understanding of species responses to climate change, which are often tested in isolation or in simplified experimental designs.

Alternative therapeutics for infectious diseases is a top priority, but what infections should be the primary targets? At present there is a focus on therapies for severe infections, for which effective treatment is most needed, but these infections are hard to manage, and progress has been limited. Here, we explore a different approach.

In 1965, the Sugar Research Foundation (SRF) secretly funded a review in the New England Journal of Medicine that discounted evidence linking sucrose consumption to blood lipid levels and hence coronary heart disease (CHD). SRF subsequently funded animal research to evaluate sucrose’s CHD risks. The objective of this study was to examine the planning, funding, and internal evaluation of an SRF-funded research project titled “Project 259: Dietary Carbohydrate and Blood Lipids in Germ-Free Rats,” led by Dr. W.F.R.

The Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, adopted under the auspices of the Convention on Biological Diversity, provides the basis for taking effective action to curb biodiversity loss across the planet by 2020—an urgent imperative. Yet, Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, which encompass 10% of the planet’s surface, are excluded from assessments of progress against the Strategic Plan. The situation is a lost opportunity for biodiversity conservation globally. We provide such an assessment.

Gut microbiomes play crucial roles in animal health, and shifts in the gut microbial community structure can have detrimental impacts on hosts. Studies with vertebrate models and human subjects suggest that antibiotic treatments greatly perturb the native gut community, thereby facilitating proliferation of pathogens. In fact, persistent infections following antibiotic treatment are a major medical issue.

Alien species are a major component of human-induced environmental change. Variation in the numbers of alien species found in different areas is likely to depend on a combination of anthropogenic and environmental factors, with anthropogenic factors affecting the number of species introduced to new locations, and when, and environmental factors influencing how many species are able to persist there. However, global spatial and temporal variation in the drivers of alien introduction and species richness remain poorly understood.