© Jasiek Krzysztofiak

Nature covers

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Art Direction: Kelly Krause
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Year: 2012-2016

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Science in China
This special issue looks at the country's astonishing scientific trajectory as it seeks to secure its spot among the leaders in innovation.

Britain's genes
Researchers have found genetic signatures among Britons that betray their historical roots in particular locales of the United Kingdom, leading to the finest-scale map of genetic variation yet created. The analysis — which shows a snapshot of clusters of genetic variation in the late 1800s, when people were less likely to migrate far from their region of birth — reflects historical waves of migration by different populations into the island.

In the loop
This cover is a highly conceptual interpretation of a paper on neural constraints on learning. The research explores how adaptable the brain is during learning and finds that some new neural activity patterns are easier to generate than others — corresponding to more easily learned tasks — and that these can be predicted at the start of the experiment. This finding could form a basis for a neural explanation for the balance between adaptability and persistence in action and thought.

Science stars
This issue takes a close look at South American science, which has nothing really to do with sport, but is of course timed to go with the World Cup. As such, we wanted to create cover art that did essentially two things: give an impression of science in South America, but also give a subtle nod to the beautiful game.

Practical microfluidics
Microfluidics exploits the properties of fluids trapped in submillimetre-scale spaces — the physics behind inkjet printing, DNA microarrays, lab-on-a-chip chemistry and much else — to useful practical effect. In the past decade microfluidic devices have shown considerable promise in diagnostics and primary research in the biological sciences.

Map of science
Researchers are much more mobile than in the past and can follow funding and facilities around the world, and the development of supranational collaboration networks is changing the role of national governments and funding agencies. This special issue of Nature looks at how the movement of people and ideas is changing how and where science is done, how it is funded and where current trends will lead.