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New research suggests that placozoans, amoeba-like, multicelled organisms, are ancestors to sea sponges, thought to be the most ancient ancestor of all animals, says a blog post at Discover magazine. In work published this week, scientists performed molecular phylogenetic analysis of animals from 24 taxa, generating a new tree of life that placed placozoans, sponges, and jellyfish on one line and more complex animals on another.

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UK Royal Statistical Society is organizing a working group to develop guidelines for assessing COVID-19 tests, the Guardian reports.

The Washington Post reports that the White House chief of staff has asked the US Food and Drug Administration to justify the stricter standards it is seeking for a coronavirus vaccine.

President Donald Trump's "good genes" comment raises eugenics concerns, CNN reports.

In PLOS this week: genetic analysis of tremor condition, analysis of a West and Central African tree used in traditional medicine, and more.