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BGI to Play Pivotal Sampling, Next-Generation Sequencing and Bioinformatics Role in Earth Microbiome Project
Date:3/22/2011

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. and SHENZHEN, China, March 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- BGI (previously known as the Beijing Genomics Institute), the largest genomic organization in the world, announced its participation and pivotal role in the Earth Microbiome Project (EMP), a massively multidisciplinary effort to systematically determine the functional and evolutionary diversity of microbial communities across the globe for the benefit of the planet and mankind.

Unlike past microbial studies that have been modest in scope and focused on the oceanic and human environments, the EMP will also include samples of soil, air, and freshwater ecosystems, as well as the planet's subsurface believed to contain the vast majority of all microbes. With the goal of examining the relationships between specific environments and biology, the EMP will analyze 200,000 samples from researchers around the globe using environmental DNA sequencing, or metagenomics, along with other next-generation sequencing to produce a global Gene Atlas.

In addition to being responsible for leading the effort to identify sample collections in Asia that can be leveraged against the EMP, BGI will provide DNA extraction, amplification, sequence library construction and sequencing for metagenomics projects as well as computational resources in the development of the bioinformatics pipeline that will provide an analysis framework for the vast amount of data to be produced by the EMP.

Commenting on BGI's role in the EMP, Jack A. Gilbert, Ph.D., project director of EMP and professor of University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory, stated, "BGI has demonstrated incredible enthusiasm and resources in terms of sequencing capacity, technical development, and informatics expertise. The EMP is the largest sequencing project ever undertaken, and BGI is the biggest player in global sequencing so their participation is essential. BGI's commitment to scientific excellence makes them an ideal choice for d
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