October 11, 2011, Shenzhen, China -- BGI, the world's largest genomics organization, has developed the first exome sequencing platform for the monkey, based on next-generation sequencing technology and monkey exome capturing array (MECA). MECA is a proprietary exome capture array designed by BGI for capturing the entire monkey exome. The combination of this revolutionary array and BGI's high-throughput sequencing technology not only can simplify the workflow of exome sequencing experiments, but also improve cost-effectiveness and turnaround time.
Due to its close relationship genetically and physiologically to humans, the monkey is the most extensively used non-human primate in biomedical research and animal models for human disease research. Macaque monkeys, in particular, are commonly used in research. Each year, there are thousands of Macaques used in pre-clinical studies throughout the world, including studies of pathogenic mechanisms, drug selection, drug dosage, treatment duration and adverse drug reactions, among others.
"Considering the important significance of studying the genetic variations of Macaque monkeys, we initiated the Chinese rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) genome project and Cynomolgus macaque (Macaca fascicularis) genome project," said Jiong Zhang, Technical Specialist at BGI. "Based on the genomic data generated from the two projects, BGI designed the exome capture array and developed the exome sequencing platform for the monkey to facilitate biomedical research."
Utilizing the monkey exome sequencing platform, researchers can access genomic regions of interest in their sequencing experiments. "The unique combination of MECA and next-generation sequencing allows researchers to understand efficiently the detailed genetics of monkeys. We believe our breakthrough will enable monkey exome sequencing to play a more important role in biomedical and evolutionary studies," Zhang added.
BGI was founded in Beijing, China on September 9th, 1999 with the mission of being a premier scientific partner to the global research community. The goal of BGI is to make leading-edge genomic science highly accessible through its investment in infrastructure that leverages the best available technology, economies of scale, and expert bioinformatics resources. BGI, and its affiliates, BGI Americas and BGI Europe, have established partnerships and collaborations with leading academic and government research institutions as well as global biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, supporting a variety of disease, agricultural, environmental, and related applications.
BGI has established a proven track record of excellence, delivering results with high efficiency and accuracy for innovative, high-profile research which has generated over 170 publications in top-tier journals such as Nature and Science. These accomplishments include sequencing one percent of the human genome for the International Human Genome Project, contributing 10 percent to the International Human HapMap Project, carrying out research to combat SARS and German deadly E. coli, playing a key role in the Sino-British Chicken Genome Project, and completing the sequence of the rice genome, the silkworm genome, the first Asian diploid genome, the potato genome, and, most recently, 1,000 genomes and human Gut metagenome.