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The 5 most talked-about scientific papers of November 2020 in the Nature Index journals

November’s most talked-about natural-sciences papers included three on COVID-19, and one investigating the little-studied effect of a warming climate on hurricanes.

Also included in this list is a study on moral decision-making by people with autism, which drew a lot of attention on social media due to its language choice.

Here is an Altmetric ranking of November 2020’s most popular papers in the natural sciences, published in the 82 high-quality journals tracked by the Nature Index.

1. “No evidence for increased transmissibility from recurrent mutations in SARS-CoV-2”

Nature Communications

Led by Lucy van Dorp from the UCL Genetics Institute in London, this study aimed to address speculation that SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) may be evolving towards higher transmissibility –mutations that spread more easily between people.

The researchers, from the UK and France, analysed 12,706 mutations identified within a dataset of almost 50,000 SARS-CoV-2 genomes isolated from patients in 99 countries. They concluded that none of the mutations, which occur as a natural part of viral evolution, had higher transmissibility.

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