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EYE in CHINA
BGI and TGAC join efforts to tackle global challenges in food security, energy and health
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 centers 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 program 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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