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The Salk Institute's Leslie Orgel, the theoretical chemist who proposed that RNA could have been the orginal bearer of genetic information, died last Saturday from pancreatic cancer. Along with Francis Crick, Orgel suggested extraterrestrials seeded life on Earth through panspermia, though there is inadequate evidence for this idea. Orgel was also known for his Second Rule, which says, "Evolution is cleverer than you are." Orgel was 80.

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Researchers trace DNA on a clay pipe found at a former slave site to a population that lives in what is now Sierra Leone, the Washington Post reports.

Two researchers report on their genetic analysis of samples from a shawl thought to belong to a victim of Jack the Ripper, ScienceInsider reports.

Japan is to release rules governing some gene-edited food, according to NHK World.

In PLOS this week: computational strategy for improving gene set analysis testing, miRNAs linked to sleep apnea, and more.