Always Inventing

Stanford chemist Eugene van Tamelen died of cancer, reports the Los Angeles Times. He was 84. Van Tamelen studied the structure of complex natural molecules and, according to his colleagues, van Tamelen "liked being different and he liked being first," the Times says. While a graduate student, van Tamelen helped synthesize cantharidin, the main component of Spanish Fly, and later worked on the hallucinogen yohimbine and the antimitotic agent colchicine.

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Technology Review reports that researchers in the US have used CRISPR to modify a number of human embryos.

By introducing genes from butterfly peas and Canterbury bells, researchers in Japan have developed a blue chrysanthemum, according to NPR.

Plant researchers plan to sequence some 10,000 samples that represent the major plant clades, ScienceInsider reports.

In Nature this week: a Danish reference genome, and more.