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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. "He was constantly inventing new reactions and new approaches to interesting molecules," says Stanford's John Brauman.

The Scan

Octopus Brain Complexity Linked to MicroRNA Expansions

Investigators saw microRNA gene expansions coinciding with complex brains when they analyzed certain cephalopod transcriptomes, as they report in Science Advances.

Study Tracks Outcomes in Children Born to Zika Virus-Infected Mothers

By following pregnancy outcomes for women with RT-PCR-confirmed Zika virus infections, researchers saw in Lancet Regional Health congenital abnormalities in roughly one-third of live-born children.

Team Presents Benchmark Study of RNA Classification Tools

With more than 135 transcriptomic datasets, researchers tested two dozen coding and non-coding RNA classification tools, establishing a set of potentially misclassified transcripts, as they report in Nucleic Acids Research.

Breast Cancer Risk Related to Pathogenic BRCA1 Mutation May Be Modified by Repeats

Several variable number tandem repeats appear to impact breast cancer risk and age at diagnosis in almost 350 individuals carrying a risky Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA1 founder mutation.