Public Release:  BGI and TGAC join efforts to tackle global challenges in food security, energy and health

BGI Shenzhen

Norwich, UK, Copenhagen, Denmark, Shenzhen, China. Tue., 12 March 2013 - The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) and BGI, the world's largest genomics organization, will be working together aiming to strengthen research collaborations and build on the world-class genomics and bioinformatics capabilities of both institutions. This partnership will foster key research developments in the areas of food security, energy and health.

Prof Richard Cogdell, chair of TGAC's board of trustees, said, "I am delighted by the prospect of a strong synergistic collaboration between TGAC and BGI. This will allow both partners to work together on exciting and high priority projects, bringing them to fruition much faster than if they were working alone"

Crop genomics represents one of the critical areas this joint effort will contribute to. BGI and TGAC are already working on important crop species including wheat, rice and barley. The Norwich Research Park (NRP) where TGAC is based also hosts the John Innes Centre and the Sainsbury Laboratory, two world-renowned research centres in plant genomics and plant pathogen research. Routes to better crops and tackling challenges around food security will be investigated by the application of the latest sequencing technologies coupled with novel computational solutions such as the rapid identification of alleles associated with advantageous traits. Another important theme will be energy derived from crops.

Scientists from both BGI and TGAC will also join efforts to explore the application of genomics for medical diagnostic and its impact on health. This collaboration will also offer opportunities to work with the Institute of Food Research, a research institute with expertise in food-borne pathogens and nutrition, and the University of East Anglia including the medical school in the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, all based within the NRP.

"This is a great opportunity to build on our relationship with BGI and form a long term collaboration with them. The Norwich Research Park has emerged as a leader in plant genomics research and biotechnology" said TGAC Acting Director, Dr. Mario Caccamo. "The partnership between TGAC and BGI will facilitate future implementation of novel solutions to tackle important global challenges in food security and sustainable energy".

Ning Li, Director of BGI Europe, said, "This agreement provides a perfect platform for researchers from BGI and TGAC to share and exchange knowledge and research ideas. I am positive about this collaboration. We would like to collaborate with more researchers in Europe to better accelerate the genomic studies on human health, agriculture, bio-energy as well as other innovative research."

The intention of this collaboration includes the creation of a fellowship programme for early-career Chinese researchers to access the expertise and education opportunities in the NRP. Equally partners within the NRP, university faculty and students will gain access to the expertise of the World's largest genomics center.

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About TGAC

TGAC is a research institute focused on the development of genomics and computational biology. TGAC is based within the Norwich Research Park and receives strategic funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council (BBSRC) and other research funders.

TGAC offers state of the art DNA sequencing facility, unique by its operation of multiple complementary technologies for data generation. The Institute is a UK hub for innovative Bioinformatics through research, analysis and interpretation of multiple, complex data sets. It hosts one of the largest computing hardware facilities dedicated to life science research in Europe. It is also actively involve in developing novel platforms to provide access to computational tools and processing capacity for multiple academic and industrial users and promoting applications of computational Bioscience. Additionally, the Institute offers a Training programme through courses and workshops, and an Outreach programme targeting schools, teachers and the general public through dialogue and science communication activities, http://www.tgac.ac.uk.

About BGI

BGI was founded in 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, which includes both private non-profit genomic research institutes and sequencing application commercial units, and its affiliates, BGI Americas, headquartered in Cambridge, MA, and BGI Europe, headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, 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 250 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, have sequenced the human Gut metagenome, and a significant proportion of the genomes for 1,000 genomes. For more information about BGI please visit http://www.genomics.cn.

Contact

The Genome Analysis Centre - Dr. Vicky Schneider-Gricar, Head of Training and Outreach, vicky.sg@tgac.ac.uk, Tel: +44 1603 450895

BGI- Bicheng Yang, Public Communication Officer, yangbicheng@genomics.cn, Tel: +86 755 82639701

BGI - Ms. Catherine Wen Gao, Marketing Communication manager, BGI Europe gaowen@genomics.cn Tel: +45 81730147

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