International Sc2.0 Project On Track to Build World’s First Synthetic Yeast Genome

A team from the International Synthetic Yeast Genome Project (Sc2.0 project) have announced the completion of the de novo redesign and synthesis of five more chromosomes of Saccharomyces cerevisiae; chromosomes II, V, VI, X and XII. The researchers also performed an in-depth, multi-dimensional analysis on the yeast strain, and confirmed that the phenotype of the synthetic yeast strain is consistent to that of the wild-type. The BGI research team, as one of the Chinese participants, has led the completed redesign and synthesis of chromosome II which is 770 kilobase pairs long, and transformed it into a yeast cell resulting in a synthetic strain that is consistent to the wildtype one in terms of viability. The whole study is published as the cover story on the March 9th special issue of Science.

Following breakthrough work with the synthesis of the Mycoplasma genome in 2010, the Sc2.0 project is another remarkable project in synthetic genomics research. The Sc2.0 project is formed by a consortium of a dozen leading yeast laboratories from the USA, UK, China, France, Singapore and Australia, and has set itself the ambitious task of producing the first synthetic yeast genome (16 chromosomes ~14 Mbp) by 2018. With support from the National High Technology Research and Development Program (“863” Program), Chinese scientists have made a key contribution to the project and come from three leading domestic Chinese institutions; BGI, Tianjin University and Tsinghua University. The initiator and leader of the Sc2.0 project, Prof. Jef D. Boeke, stated: “Working with our Chinese colleagues at BGI, Tianjin and Tsinghua, has been transformational for the Sc2.0 project. The resources that can be bought to bear on this vast and complex project in terms of grant support, state of the art facilities and most of all, human capital in the form of some of the most innovative scientists in Sc2.0, are simply amazing.”

BGI, as a member of the Chinese team, has led the complete redesign and synthesis of chromosome II (770 Kb in length). The resulting strain shows a viability that is highly similar to the wild type strain. The BGI team applied a “Trans-Omics” approach in order to identify the genotype-phenotype correlation of the synthetic yeast strain at the phenotypic, genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomic level. Yue Shen, the first author of the synII paper and the director of the Genome Synthesis and Editing Platform at the China National GeneBank said: “The Sc2.0 project not only promotes the rapid development of the technology, but also provides us with the opportunity to collaborate with international leading teams to learn and master genome synthesis technology together. We now have a more thorough understanding of the model organism yeast, which will help us to explore its potentials in industrial applications.”

The team also collaborated with the University of Edinburgh on testing physiological function including cell replication and division. Results indicate that the artificial S. cerevisiae genome is highly modifiable, and has high flexibility for DNA element addition and deletion. This success in reengineering the eukaryotic S. cerevisiae genome is another milestone on the way towards creating synthetic life, after the completion of the synthetic prokaryotic genome. Co-corresponding author of the synII paper and leader of the University of Edinburgh team, Dr Yizhi Cai, agreed: “This is a major milestone in synthetic biology and biotechnology. It really shows our excellence in engineering biology at the chromosome level, and it would not be possible without the great collaborations between our Sc2.0 international teams. I look forward to continuing working with this amazing team to complete the entire synthetic yeast genome in the years to come.”

In 2014, the first of 16 chromosomes were synthesized (synIII) thereby marking an important first step. The next step required an international mission to collaboratively synthesize the other 15 chromosomes that are needed to generate the first fully synthetic yeast genome. This international Sc2.0 Project has just hit a significant milestone. The Sc2.0 team of collaborating scientists believes that, by reengineering the S. cerevisiae genome, they can gain a deeper understanding of the biological mechanisms and responses of organisms, and their adaptability to and evolutionary process in various environments. They hope that the outcome of the Sc2.0 project will help the world to solve grand challenges relating to health, food, energy and the environment.

Co-founder and Chairman of BGI, Prof. Huanming Yang noted: “Breakthroughs made in this project in recent years shows the importance of international collaboration in science. This international project provides our young team with a great and unique chance to improve and acquire the vision on the development of this field and the spirit of international collaboration.”

Media Enquires:
Yue Shen
+ (86)-755 33945531

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BGI Opens Seattle Office for North America Expansion

Global Genomics Leader Builds Health Partnerships

SEATTLE, WA Dec. 14, 2016 – BGI, a leading global genomics organization headquartered in Shenzhen, announced it is expanding its international operations with the formation of a new division, BGI Groups USA, to be based in Seattle.

BGI is engaged in scientific research, genomic sequencing, precision medicine, agriculture, bioinformatics and related technologies with a vision to use genomics to benefit humanity.

From Seattle, the company will expand partnerships with universities, companies and health and agriculture related organizations, and support communications and branding, product development and investment.

BGI has offices in China, Japan, Denmark, Australia and the United States and has established more than 40 labs or joint labs around the world.

“BGI’s commitment to North America, particularly the Seattle region, recognizes the strong ecosystem of biotechnology and health groups working at the forefront of medicine,” said Dr. Yiwu He, CEO of BGI Groups USA and BGI’s global head of Research and Development. “The new office will help us connect those resources with BGI’s international capabilities and scale to accelerate global innovation for human health.”

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, who visited BGI Shenzhen headquarters in May as part of a trade mission, said BGI can help strengthen the community of scientists and engineers in Seattle who are working to solve global issues and improve lives.

“BGI is one of Shenzhen’s most famous companies and is an impressive pioneer in DNA sequencing. Their new division based in Seattle is a welcome addition to our community,” Murray said.  “Seattle and BGI share a vision for a future where we are all better off thanks to scientific advancements.”

BGI has made major scientific breakthroughs in sequencing human genomes and the genomes of crops, animals and microbes. As the world’s largest genomics center, BGI produces at least a quarter of the world’s genomic data. It is also the only genomics organization that focuses not only on humans, but also on agriculture, biodiversity and the environment.

BGI acquired Complete Genomics, a Mountain View, CA-based sequencing technology company in 2013. Based on CG’s technology, BGI launched its proprietary high-throughput next-gen sequencers, BGISEQ-500 and BGISEQ-50 in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

BGI also operates one of the world’s most comprehensive and sophisticated biorepositories, the China National GeneBank, which opened this September in Shenzhen and contains more than 10 million genetic samples from humans, plants, animals and microbes.

BGI’s Scientific Advisory Board includes leading science innovators Dr. George M. Church, Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and a pioneer in genome sequencing and next generation DNA sequencing methods, and Dr. Leroy Hood, president and co-founder of the Institute for Systems Biology, who created the technological foundation for genomics and proteomics and pioneered the fields of systems biology and systems medicine. Dr. Tadataka (Tachi) Yamada, former president of the Global Health Program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation who is currently Venture Partner at Frazier Healthcare Partners in Seattle and the chairman and co-founder of Outpost Medicine, serves as Chairman of BGI’s Scientific Advisory Board.

In Seattle, BGI has multiple partnerships with several leading research institutes in the area, including University of Washington Medicine, to collaborate on precision medicine and accelerate the application of new sequencing technologies developed by BGI to human health.

BGI also has a long-term partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation focused on projects and strategies to apply genomic tools to improve global health and agricultural development.

BGI has partnered with Washington State University to cooperate on a strategic level in efforts to establish and conduct programs in basic and applied research, technology and information transfer, and economic development.

BGI is also working with five leading health and research organizations in British Columbia to bring together advanced technologies and individualized therapy for cancer and other diseases. The partnership, between BGI, Providence Health Care, St. Paul’s Foundation, Vancouver Prostate Centre (VPC), Genome British Columbia (Genome BC), and Deloitte Inc., focuses on applying next generation sequencing technologies and big data to accelerate personalized medicine and improve outcomes for patients.

For more information, contact

BGI and British Columbia Organizations to Collaborate on Precision Medicine

Leading Health Organizations in Canada and China Teaming up to Accelerate Precision Medicine

BGI (Shenzhen), Providence Health Care, St. Paul’s Foundation and partners plan joint research initiative

VANCOUVER, BC, Canada and SHENZHEN, China – Five leading health and research organizations in British Columbia and the world’s largest genomics organization, based in China, have formed a global partnership to bring together advanced technologies and individualized therapy for cancer and other diseases.

The partnership, between Shenzhen-based BGI, Providence Health Care, St. Paul’s Foundation, Vancouver Prostate Centre (VPC), Genome British Columbia (Genome BC), and Deloitte Inc., focuses on applying next generation sequencing technologies and big data to accelerate personalized medicine and improve outcomes for patients.

“This partnership links the best researchers in British Columbia and China with cutting edge genomic technologies to share expertise and accelerate innovation on a global scale,” said Dianne Doyle, President and CEO, Providence Health Care. “Our mutual goal is more effective treatments for patients using precision medicine.”

The collaboration aims to leverage each partner’s strengths to create health centres of excellence in both Shenzhen and Vancouver. Cooperative research programs will build on BC’s capability for world-class genomics research and BGI’s internationally recognized expertise in ‘omics’ technology, data analysis and research.

“BGI and BC have collaborated for many years. This is an exciting step forward to build stronger collaboration to realize the goal of precision medicine, accelerate innovation and make an impact on improving human health,” said Ning Li, chief development officer on precision medicine at BGI Genomics Co. Ltd.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the parties at a ceremony at the Vancouver Board of Trade during the American Society of Human Genetics 2016 annual meeting.

“This partnership builds on an initial investment made by BGI into BC’s growing genomics hub and is another step towards the implementation of precision medicine in our province,” said Dr. Pascal Spothelfer, President & CEO of Genome BC. “Our belief is that this relationship will mutually benefit patient outcomes in both countries by linking world class research capabilities with clinical applications.”

The partners envision creating a joint research centre at the new St. Paul’s Hospital campus that would involve scientists and clinicians from UBC’s Faculty of Medicine and use BGI’s low-cost, high-throughput sequencing capabilities.

“We welcome new opportunities that this partnership could provide for our research teams at these sites to continue to engage in breakthrough discoveries in personalized health and genomics research,” said Dr. Helen Burt, UBC Vice President Research & International pro tem.

Deloitte will contribute its expertise managing the big data analytics environment to facilitate world class research and enable health information to be securely shared with the various research partners.

BGI, the world’s largest genomics organization, began a partnership with the VPC earlier this year for a BGI-VPC Joint Research Laboratory to combine BGI’s advanced and cost-effective technologies, and VPC’s world class cancer research and drug development program. The partnership focuses on individualized therapy for cancer through evidence-based precision oncology and clinical trials, as well as commercialization for diagnostics and treatment of prostate and others cancers, such as non-invasive “liquid biopsies” for monitoring men with advanced prostate cancer.

“The partnership has allowed scientists to develop biomarkers for identifying the most dangerous prostate tumours and to sequence a large cohort of tumours to define mechanisms of resistance to therapy,” said Dr. Colin Collins, Senior Research Scientist at the Vancouver Prostate Centre and a Director of The Laboratory for Advanced Genome Analysis. “This new agreement promises to greatly enrich the entire BC biomedical research community, leading to healthcare breakthroughs across the spectrum of human disease.”

Another collaboration is a health economic analysis of personalized medicine, currently being conducted by BGI and the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences (CHEOS). The goal is to develop an economic assessment of sequencing based non-invasive prenatal testing, and an early detection test for cancer, and share the findings in peer reviewed journals, with a strategy to help disseminate information about the technology to health plan sponsors and insurance carriers worldwide.

About Providence Health Care

Providence Health Care (PHC) is one of Canada’s largest faith-based health care organizations, operating 17 health care sites in Greater Vancouver. PHC operates one of two adult academic health science centres in the province – St. Paul’s Hospital – that performs cutting-edge research in more than 30 clinical specialties, and focuses its services on six “populations of emphasis”: cardio-pulmonary risks and illnesses, HIV/AIDS, mental health, renal risks and illness, specialized needs in aging and urban health and is home to the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/

About BGI

BGI was founded in 1999 with the vision of using genomics to benefit mankind and has since become the largest genomic organization in the world. With a focus on research and applications in the healthcare, agriculture, conservation, and environmental fields, BGI has a proven track record of innovative, high profile research, which has generated over 1,000 publications. BGI’s goal is to make state-of-the-art genomics highly accessible to the global research community and clinical markets by integrating the industry’s broadest array of leading technologies, including BGI’s own sequencing platform, economies of scale, and expert bioinformatics resources.


For more information or media interviews, please contact:

Media contact for BGI:

Kristi Heim 韩菁

Senior Director, Business Development and Communications

T: 206.778.7411



Media contact for BC:

Ann Gibbon, Senior Communications Specialist, Media Relations

Providence Health Care

T: 604.682.2344 ext. 66987| M: 604.837.6003



China National Genebank Officially Opens

International science community welcomes China National GeneBank opening

Today’s official opening of the China National GeneBank (CNGB) marks a new phase in Chinese-International genomics collaboration, providing scientists from across the world with access to one of the world’s most comprehensive and sophisticated biorepositories with the goal of enabling breakthroughs in human health research and contributing to global biodiversity conservation efforts.

Based in Shenzhen and officially opened on 22 September 2016, the billion-dollar CNGB covers more than 47,500 square meters and has an integrated structure of “Three Banks and Two Platforms”, consisting of a Biorepository, Bioinformatics Data Centre and Living Biobank, and a Digitalization Platform and Synthesis and Editing Platform.

Partners from around the world welcomed CNGB’s contribution to scientific collaboration and preserving the planet’s biodiversity.

Initiated by China’s National Development and Reform Commission in 2011, the CNGB is the result of five years of development by the world’s largest genomics organization, BGI.

BGI President and Co-founder, Professor Jian Wang, said the mission of CNGB is to preserve the essence of billion years evolutionary history and deposit the life foundation of billions of people.

“The China National GeneBank represents the new generation of a genetic resource repository, bioinformatics database, knowledge database and tool library, to systematically ‘Store, Read, Understand, Write, and Apply’ genetic data,” said the Director of CNGB, Mr. Yonghong Mei.

“CNGB will integrate new trends in life science and international cutting-edge developments in omics to further strengthen the ‘three banks and two platforms’ function, a model which covers the spectrum from resources to scientific research.”

Stage I of the CNGB Biorepository stores more than 10 million traceable bio-samples, including human, plant, animal and microbes and will establish international standards in bio-sample collection, storage and management.

The Bioinformatics Data Canter is focused on establishing a high-performance data management system to store and interpret biological information, and during its first phase has already achieved 20PB (20 million gigabytes) access capability and will reach 500PB in phase II. It hosts over 10 databases, with a search engine, data transmission, and cloud computing support.

The Digital Platform launched is equipped with 150 BGISEQ-500 benchtop sequencers and 1 super sequencer, RevolocityTM, producing 5Pb data per year, which is the equivalent sequencing capacity of 50,000 whole genome sequencing.

The Synthesis and Editing Platform aims to develop a super high throughput and low cost foundry.

The Living Bank is expected to save and protect around 300,000 species of plants and millions of animals and microbes and will accelerate digitization of resources to lead to other innovative applications.

“CNGB aims to create a network to foster global collaboration and communication, and to promote innovation in the community,”said the Executive Director of CNGB, Dr. Xun Xu. It has formed strategic collaborations with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), Smithsonian Institution (SI), and Global Genome Biodiversity Network.

The opening of the CNGB also saw the signing of cooperation agreements with global partners Svalbard Global Seed Vault, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology, Huawei and Aliyun in the areas of seed digitalization, the epigenetics of children’s health and phage genome synthesis.

The Smithsonian Institution Under Secretary for Science, W. John Kress, said stockpiling the planet’s biodiversity in gene banks for the future was one of the most important and essential endeavours that scientists could pursue.

“The collaboration between BGI, the China National GeneBank and the Smithsonian Institution builds a strong partnership between premier research organizations that will ensure we achieve this goal,” he said. “Working together is the best insurance for success.”

The leader of Genome 10K Consortium, Stephen J. O’Brien, said, “On behalf of the leadership of the Genome10K Consortium, I am delighted to offer our deepest and most sincere congratulations to the BGI scientists and leadership on the inauguration of the innovative and audacious China National Genebank (CNGB) Building in Shenzhen. The CNGB is likely to become a landmark-center in genome sequencing, analyses and data-release for the translational betterment of our fragile planet, continuing the well established BGI tradition of creating open and forward-seeking scientific intersections across the globe.”

For more information, please contact:
Bicheng Yang, BGI,

Making History: 60 Million Years of Fungus Farming in Ants

Humans developed agriculture after the last ice age, which ended around twelve thousand years ago. Farming was only possible based on technological advances and organizational skills that could be passed down the generations, setting these Neolithic farmers apart from earlier humans. Against this short history of human farming it is a surprise that some ants and termites figured out how to farm fungi for food tens of millions of years ago. This innovation was so successful that insect farmers diversified into many species that dominate savannas and rain forests across the world to this day. A new study, published today in Nature Communications, reveals the genetic changes that enabled these farming ants and their cultivars to be so successful.

An international team of researchers, led by the Centre for Social Evolution in Copenhagen (CSE), China National GeneBank (CNGB) and BGI-Shenzhen analyzed the genome sequences of seven farming ant species and their fungus crops. These represent the entire scale-range of fungus-farming: Some species practice small-scale subsistence farming, with miniature farms the size of golf-balls hidden under the forest floor; others have moved on to industrial-scale farming in colonies with millions of workers – the leaf-cutter ant colonies whose highways bustle with thousands of workers carrying leaves, which can hardly fail to escape the attention of any tourist visiting Latin America. As CSE’s Dr Sanne Nygaard explains: “These ants have resolved many challenges that human agriculture continues to struggle with, such as superb hygiene, effective pest management and the production and application of fungicides and antibiotics that have not made their diseases resistant as time went by. They have done this not through science and technology, but by evolution by natural selection”.

The study shows that the building blocks of the fungus-farming ant genomes were shuffled around over evolutionary time at a rate higher than that of any animal groups for which genome sequences are currently available. This is reminiscent of many plants and animals domesticated by humans that have had elevated rates of evolutionary change because of selective breeding by farmers. Nygaard et al. also show that the origins of ant farming, and later transitions in crop domestication, are older than so far suspected: the ancestor of these ants started to farm fungi nearly 60 million years ago, shortly after the dinosaurs went extinct.

Crop changes also played a crucial role: the large-scale ant farmers have fungal crops that must always be asexually propagated, similar to most modern human crops. When this transition happened, the ants needed to feed their fungus gardens better quality compost, so they started harvesting fresh leaves. This in turn made their cultivars lose many of the cellulose- and lignin-degrading enzymes that are typically found in the less specialized ancestral crops of small subsistence farmers. Guojie Zhang, who is co-senior author and coordinated the genome analysis work, elaborates: “During mutual domestication, both the ants and their crop fungi underwent dramatic changes which precluded that they could ever return to independent life. Comparative genomics is a powerful tool to track these evolutionary processes.”

The most crucial adaptation in both the ants and cultivars, however, was evolving the ability to produce and process chitin – the main component of fungal cell walls – in large quantities. As Nygaard et al. show, the genomes of farming ants and their crops carry many signatures of past natural selection, accumulating novel genetic traits that likely facilitated the large-scale and massively successful ant fungus farms we see today.

The study’s senior author, Professor Jacobus (Koos) Boomsma, comments: “Ant fungus-farming is an intriguing example of stable mutualistic cooperation that realized huge potential by slow and gradual improvements – so much in fact that the leaf-cutting ants are now serious agricultural pests throughout Latin America because of their efficiency in defoliating human crops. Ant farming appears to be more sustainable than human farming in almost all respects that have been studied. The only human achievement that really stands out is that we created industrial-scale farming much faster, but our farming practices are rarely as thorough as those achieved by slow natural selection in farming insect societies”.

Ranomics Partners with BGI to Classify Variants of Unknown Significance

BGI, global leader in genomics research and clinical applications, is actively using functional studies data provided by biotech startup, Ranomics, for gene variant classification. Ranomics’ database offers experimental data about genetic Variants of Unknown Significance (VUS), providing new insights into the function of VUS in model organisms.

Aliyun Partners with BGI to Launch Cloud-based Genome Analytics Engine

Hangzhou, February 29, 2016 Aliyun, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group, today announced that BGI Genomics, the world’s largest genomics organization, has launched a genome analytics engine — BGI Online (beta version) — using Aliyun cloud computing. As the first large-scale bioinformatics analysis platform on Aliyun, BGI Online is a key milestone towards sequencing an individual human genome within 24 hours.

The booming life sciences industry is generating massive volumes of research data, creating new challenges to researchers seeking to obtain data in a timely manner, analyze and process it rapidly, and store it securely. BGI Online (beta), the first large-scale bioinformatics analysis platform to run fully on the Aliyun cloud, was developed to address these issues.

The beta service integrates high-performance computing, secure networking and large-capacity storage, allowing data analysis, visualization and reporting on the cloud, which assists researchers to obtain actionable insights quickly and easily. Users of BGI Online can access their own data on this platform, design personalized, accurate data analyses, and share both data and results easily with other authorized users.

Simon Hu, President of Aliyun said, “2016 will see a revolution in life sciences and the exponential growth of new businesses based on data. Genomics will soon intersect with precision medicine. Aliyun will continue to promote innovation to address new challenges in data processing, analysis and storage brought about by the explosive growth in life sciences.”

Running as an Aliyun hybrid cloud deployment, BGI Online leverages the premium scalability and performance of Aliyun Elastic Computing services to handle a wide range of scenarios with heavy computing, storage and data transmission requirements, from basic research and crop breeding to clinical applications. Aliyun also satisfies BGI’s stringent requirements for data processing, security and data privacy.

BGI Online (beta) is a major deliverable of the October 2015 commitment signed by Aliyun, Intel Corporation and BGI at the 10th International Conference on Genomics (ICG-10) in Shenzhen to develop the first cloud solutions for precision medicine in the Asia Pacific.

Ye Yin, CEO of BGI Genomics said, “Our goal is to complete sequencing, analysis and interpret a person’s entire genome in 24 hours through our BGISEQ-500 sequencer and BGI Online platform. Though this is an enormous challenge, the value to life is well worth the effort. This work will give China sustainable growth opportunities in life sciences over the next few decades. Wish more talents in cloud computing and bioinformatics area could join us to make it happen earlier.”

BGI Online enables research institutes, medical facilities as well as small and medium sized genomics enterprises to eliminate the need to build and support expensive data centers. By outsourcing the complexities of network security, data processing and hardware maintenance to BGI and Aliyun, doctors and researchers can focus more on solving scientific mysteries.

About BGI

BGI was founded in 1999 with the vision of using genomics to benefit mankind and has since become the largest genomic organization in the world. With a focus on research and applications in the healthcare, agriculture, conservation, and environmental fields, BGI has a proven track record of innovative, high profile research, which has generated over 1,000 publications, many in top-tier journals such as Nature and Science.The company also contributes to scientific communication by publishing the international research journal GigaScience.

BGI’s distinguished achievements have made a significant contribution to the development of genomics throughout the world.  BGI’s goal is to make state-of-the-art genomics highly accessible to the global research community and clinical markets by integrating the industry’s broadest array of leading technologies, including BGI’s own BGISEQ sequencing platform, economies of scale, and expert bioinformatics resources.

BGI also offers a wide portfolio of transformative genetic testing products across major diseases, enabling medical providers and patients worldwide to realize the promise of genomics-based diagnostics and personalized healthcare. BGI’s services and solutions are available in more than 50 countries around the world.

About Aliyun

Established in September 2009, Aliyun (, Alibaba Group’s cloud computing arm, develops highly scalable platforms for cloud computing and data management. It provides a comprehensive suite of cloud computing services to support the participants of Alibaba Group’s online and mobile commerce ecosystem, including sellers, and other third-party customers and businesses. Aliyun is a business within Alibaba Group.


Press Contacts

Sindy Shi

Alibaba Group

+86 150 2192 5635


Rachel Chan

Alibaba Group

+852 9400 0979


BGI Expands Investment in SMRT Sequencing Technology for Its Global Service Business

Shenzhen, China, Jan. 07, 2016 — Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc., (Nasdaq:PACB) a pioneer and leader in long-read sequencing using its Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT®) Technology, and BGI, one of the world’s largest genomics organizations, today announced that BGI has ordered its first Sequel System and plans to purchase additional units in order to further integrate SMRT Sequencing into its global service business. This purchase is a continuation of the commitment to SMRT Sequencing BGI made earlier this year with its purchase of the PacBio® RS II Sequencer.

“We have been very impressed with the SMRT Sequencing technology and our PacBio RS II system. This technology allows BGI to meet the demand for SMRT sequencing services in our bacterial, plant and animal de novo sequencing, transcriptomics sequencing as well as large-scale projects such as the Genome 10K Project,” said Ye Yin, CEO of BGI Genomics. “The addition of the Sequel System enables BGI to increase capacity and offer additional services such as whole genome resequencing and a variety of other long-read-based applications.”

The Sequel System is designed for projects such as rapidly and cost-effectively generating high-quality, whole-genome de novo assemblies. It can provide characterization of a wide variety of genomic variation types, including those in complex regions not accessible with short read or synthetic long-range sequencing technologies,
while simultaneously revealing epigenetic information. The system can also be used to generate data for full-length transcriptomes and targeted transcripts using the company’s Iso-SeqTM protocol. The Sequel System’s increased throughput should also facilitate applications of SMRT Technology in metagenomics and targeted gene applications for which interrogation of larger numbers of individual DNA molecules is important.

Michael Hunkapiller, Ph.D., Chairman and CEO of Pacific Biosciences commented: “We are delighted that the world’s leading sequencing operation has chosen to acquire the newest generation of PacBio technology and expand its services based on SMRT Sequencing. By adopting our Sequel System, BGI will benefit from the higher throughput, more scalability, reduced footprint and lower sequencing project costs that the
system delivers.”

About BGI

BGI was founded in 1999 as a nonprofit research organization. Over the years, BGI has grown into a multinational company with significant global operations. With more than 5,000 employees across the globe and R&D, manufacturing, and commercial operations around the world, BGI is committed to providing solutions to address the research, pharmaceutical, and clinical markets. BGI’s focus has centered on improving human health and empowering large-scale human, plant, and animal genomics research. More information is available at

About Pacific Biosciences

Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc. (NASDAQ:PACB) offers sequencing systems to help scientists resolve genetically complex problems. Based on its novel Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT®) technology, Pacific Biosciences’ products enable: de novo genome assembly to finish genomes in order to more fully identify, annotate and decipher genomic structures; full-length transcript analysis to improve annotations in reference genomes, characterize alternatively spliced isoforms in important gene families, and find novel genes; targeted sequencing to more comprehensively characterize genetic variations; and DNA base modification identification to help characterize epigenetic regulation and DNA damage. Pacific Biosciences’ technology provides the industry’s highest consensus accuracy over the longest read lengths in
combination with the ability to detect real-time kinetic information. PacBio sequencing systems, including consumables and software, provide a simple, fast, end-to-end workflow for SMRT Sequencing. More information is available at

Forward-Looking Statements

All statements in this press release that are not historical are forward-looking statements, including, among other things, statements relating to future uses, quality or performance of, or benefits of using, products or technologies, and other future events. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements because they involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, changes in circumstances and other factors that are, in some cases, beyond Pacific Biosciences’ control and could cause actual results to differ materially from the information expressed or implied by forward-looking statements made in this press release. Factors that could materially affect actual results can be found in Pacific Biosciences’ most recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including Pacific Biosciences’ most recent reports on Forms 8-K, 10-K and 10-Q, and include those listed under the caption “Risk Factors.”

BGI/Pacific Biosciences undertakes no obligation to revise or update information in this press release to reflect events or circumstances in the future, even if new information becomes available.

Contact BGI:
Media: Bicheng Yang

Contacts Pacific Biosciences:
Nicole Litchfield

Trevin Rard

BGI Tops Nature’s Industrial Organization Collaboration Score Index

November 12, 2015, – Nature Publishing Group today released the Nature Index 2015 Collaborations Supplement, presenting a new metric called collaboration score, which provides a measurement of the level of collaboration in global science. BGI ranks the top of industrial organizations by collaboration score.

The Index commented that, research has entered a ‘Fourth Age’. The leading edge of scientific discovery is now in the realm of international collaboration networks rather than with individuals, institutions or nations. According to the Index, China ranks No. 5 by collaboration score, following the United States, Germany, United Kingdom and France. China’s biggest collaborator is the United States. China is becoming an ever more important partner for the scientific powerhouses of North America and Europe, and a growing hub for international collaboration, reflected by the fact that its contribution to the Index leapt 16% from the previous year. The Index also credited the role of Chinese scientists as innovative contributors too, and leaders of many international scientific communities.

BGI ranks the top of industrial organizations by collaboration score followed by IBM Corporation, F. Hoffman-La Roche AG, Samsung Group, Novartis International AG, GlaxoSmithKline plc and AstraZeneca plc.

Our Mutual Friends

BGI is a genome sequencing center based in Shenzhen, southeast China. It was founded in 1999 as the Beijing Genomics Institute, a private and independent research organization, but has since developed as a corporate entity. Its many links have earned it a collaboration score of 322, the highest for any company in the Nature Index and 23% more than second placed IBM. BGI is one of China’s largest commercial providers of genomic sequencing and analysis services.

Index data show that BGI’s most frequent academic partner is the University of Copenhagen (see ‘Academic alliances’). This unexpected association began even before BGI was founded. Yang Huanming, one of the founders of BGI, got his PhD from Copenhagen in 1988. “The friendship between BGI and the University of Copenhagen has a strong basis in mutual understanding and trust,” says Yang. Wang Jun, the former chief executive of BGI, is also a professor in Copenhagen’s Department of Biology. Yang says, there are more than 20 researchers at BGI who got their PhD in Denmark, mostly from the University of Copenhagen.

Strengthening this relationship, BGI founded its European branch in Denmark in 2010, adding a research center in Copenhagen Bio Science Park (COBIS) a year later. Researchers from the university provide samples and ideas, and BGI performs the genomic sequencing and analysis — notable examples include meta-genomic sequencing of human gut bacteria and helping piece together ancient DNA.

BGI and Copenhagen also apply jointly for funds from the European Union and from the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

Because these projects are highly collaborative, BGI typically gets a very low fractional count in the Nature Index for each paper. Yang insists that BGI’s role is nonetheless valuable. “Mega science needs vast scientific collaborations,” he says. “It should be regarded as an important contribution to the research work to organize so many institutions and researchers into collaborations.”

Nature Index 2015 Collaborations Supplement

BGI and The Smithsonian Institution Ink Comprehensive MOU

October 30, 2015, Shenzhen, China – BGI and The Smithsonian Institution (SI) today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the purpose of providing a framework for collaboration between their institutions, to facilitate increased collaboration in environmental and biodiversity science, and to develop advanced research in Biodiversity Genomics. BGI and the Smithsonian seek to complement each other’s respective strengths, experience, and technologies.

The two parties intend to collaborate in scientific areas focused on biodiversity, evolution, ecology, and conservation through the application of genomic technologies, data management and analytics, bioinformatics and other areas of mutual interest.  Through joint projects, the two parties will advance their shared research, analytic and training interests.

Dr. W. John Kress, Interim Under Secretary for Science for SI and Dr. Huamming Yang, Chairman of BGI, signed the MOU at BGI Headquarters.

The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum and research complex. Through the newly established Smithsonian Institute for Biodiversity Genomics, Smithsonian scientists are applying genomics technologies to address questions in biotic diversity, evolution, ecology, and conservation to further expand our knowledge about the natural world and human interactions with nature.

BGI is one of the largest genomics organizations in the world and the only one with a department dedicated to biodiversity genomics. BGI makes state-of-the-art genomics highly accessible to the global research community by integrating the industry’s broadest array of leading technologies, economies of scale, and expert bioinformatics resources. BGI is also responsible for the establishment and operation of the China National Genebank.

According to the agreement, SI and BGI will collaborate on jointly designed projects on evolution and biodiversity, agriculture and aquaculture species, establishing global networks for information sharing and exchange and develop training initiatives for scientists.

Warren Johnson, Program Coordinator at Smithsonian Institute for Biodiversity Genomics, stated, genomics will transfer biodiversity science just as the Human Genome Project influences medicine. Smithsonian and BGI look forward to leading this transformation in biodiversity sciences.

Prof. Huanming Yang, Chairman of BGI, said, BGI is endeavoring in combining science research, popularization and education. Smithsonian has set up a brilliant example in this way for the whole world, by using the language understood by all the general citizens, Science popularization is the breakthrough and art of the day. I believe our collaboration will be win-win concerning both research and education science.