Users of second-generation sequencing platforms from Illumina, 454/Roche, and Life Technologies/Applied Biosystems witnessed improvements in yield, read length, and data quality in 2008, though many struggled with technical problems relating to their instrument or reagents, according to a survey conducted by In Sequence at the end of 2008.

Also, the $10,000 human genome remained elusive in 2008, as the total cost for users to generate a gigabase of high-quality data ranged between $1,600 and $146,500 at the end of the year, depending on the platform.

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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.