Chinese Firm Biggest Genome Sequencer!!

Chinese Firm Biggest Genome Sequencer!!

Posted in the China Forum


Brooklyn, NY

#1 Feb 13, 2013
Shenzhen Firm Is World's Biggest Genome Sequencer

A private Chinese firm based in Shenzhen has more genome-sequencing machines and has sequenced more genomes — human, animal and plant — than any other organization in the world, according to Technology Review.

Using an array of 156 genome sequencers purchases from several different firms, BGI-Shenzhen has produced between 10 and 20% of all DNA data produced around the world. Among them are the complete sequences of 50,000 human genomes as well as 90 varieties of chick peas.

The private non-profit, which employs 4,000, uses its sequencing capacity on a wide variety of activities ranging from the most abstractly scientific to the most routinely profit-oriented. One of its profit-making activities includes sequencing individual genomes for as little as $3,000 a pop. By its scale BGI Shenzhen has been a major factor in bringing down the cost of sequencing genomes from the $3 billion cost of completing the Human Genome Project ten years ago. The cost will fall even further to just $200 or $300 within another decade, according to a BGI senior researcher.

BGI also makes its capabilities available to genome researchers around the world. One is a Michigan State University project, headed up by its vice president of research Steve Hsu, to isolate genes that influence intelligence. BGI is currently sequencing the DNA of over 2,000 people with IQ scores of at least 160. The DNA comes mainly from blood samples of mostly Americans collected by a psychologist at King’s College, London. BGI is doing the work essentially for free. Having similar work performed in the west would have cost $15-$20 million.

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