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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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.