NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Life Technologies today announced that it has signed a research agreement and licensing deal with Harvard University focused on stem cell assays.

The firm said that it has acquired exclusive rights from Harvard to develop a panel of characterization assays designed to rapidly evaluate human pluripotent stem cells for their use in a variety of discovery and translational research applications. The panel is expected to be offered on Life Tech's Ion Torrent semiconductor sequencing platforms, as well as its PCR-based systems.

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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.