Baylor College of Medicine's Sarah Highlander talked microbes at this year's Beyond the Genome conference in Washington, DC, this week. Specifically, Highlander discussed the work she and others have done with NIH's Human Microbiome Project, and how that work could translate into a better understanding of human metagenomics. The rationale for large-scale microbial reference genome sequencing is that there is a need for a catalog of sequenced human isolates, which could, in turn, provide a foundation for the interpretation of whole-genome sequencing metagenomics, and other 'omics data.

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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.