Beijing Genomics Institute

Beijing Genomics Institute
Industry Genome Sequencing
Number of locations Hong Kong, Hangzhou, Beijing, Boston USA, Copenhagen Denmark,
Production output >15,000 human genomes a year by 2011

BGI (Chinese: 华大基因; pinyin: Huádà Jīyīn), known as the Beijing Genomics Institute prior to 2008, is one of the world’s premier genome sequencing centers. Its sequencing output is expected to soon surpass the equivalent of more than 15,000 human genomes per year.

BGI will receive US$1.5 billion in “collaborative funds” over the next 10 years from China Development Bank.

Key Achievements

BGI is producing de novo, resequenced genomes, RNA-Seq, Epigenomics, Metagenomics and Proteomics at such a high volume that genomes and research of significant impact are not listed here. For a complete reference of BGI's contribution to science, read a list of genomes sequenced at the bottom of this article.

Current projects

Yan Huang Project

Named after two Emperors believed to have founded China’s dominant ethnic group, BGI plans to sequence at least 100 Chinese individuals to produce a high-resolution map of Chinese genetic polymorphisms. The first genome sequenced is of an anonymous Chinese billionaire who donated $10 million RMB to the project. And the first YanHuang genome project is named "YanHuang 1",whose genome data is published on http://yh.genomics.org.cn .

Symbiont Genome Project

A jointly funded project announced March 19, 2010, BGI will collaborate with Sidney K. Pierce of University of South Florida and Charles Delwiche of the University of Maryland at College Park to sequence the genomes of the sea slug, Elysia chlorotica, and its algal food Vaucheria litorea. The sea slug uses genes from the algae to synthesize chlorophyll, the first interspecies of gene transfer discovered. Sequencing their genomes could elucidate the mechanism of that transfer.

1,000 Plant and Animal Reference Project

BGI is leading an international collaboration to sequence 1,000 plants and animals of economic and scientific import within two years. It has pledged an initial US$100 million to start the program.

BGI has already sequenced genomes of 20 species of animals and 9 species of plants—sometimes for multiple individuals, such as 40 silkworms 19713493, and has an equal number underway as of March 2010. Visit the project’s website to monitor progress, see the species planned to be sequenced, and apply to join the effort [1].

International Big Cats Genome Project

BGI, Beijing University, Heilongjiang Manchurian tiger forestry zoo, Kunming Institute of Zoology, San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conversation Research in California, and others will sequence the Amur tiger, South China tiger, Bengal tiger, Asiatic lion, African lion, cloud leopard, snow leopard, and other felines. BGI will also sequence the genomes and epigenoms of a liger and tigon. Since the two reciprocal hybrids have different phenotypes, despite being genetically identical, it is expected that the epigenome may reveal the basis of such differences.

The project will significantly advance conservation research and was auspiciously announced for the Chinese year of the Tiger.

Three Extreme-Environment Animal Genomes Project


Diabetes-associated Genes and Variations Study (LUCAMP) Cancer Genome Project

Nine Danish universities and institutes will collaborate with BGI in this targeted resequencing project.

BGI explores associated genome and gene variation in complexes diseases in large-scale studies primarily using two methods: PCR-based resequencing of candidate genes and exon-capture-based whole exome resequencing.

10,000 Microbial Genomes Project


1,000 Genomes Project


Bioinformatics Technology

De novo sequencing requires aligning billions of short strings of DNA sequence into a full genome, itself three billion base pairs long for humans.

BGI’s computational biologists developed the first successful algorithm, based on graph theory, for aligning billions of 25 to 75-base pair strings produced by next-generation sequencers, specifically Illumina’s Genome Analyzer, during de novo sequencing. The algorithm, called SOAPdenovo, can assemble a genome in two days and has been used to sequence an array of plant and animal genomes.

BGI’s 500-node supercomputer processes 10 terabytes of raw sequencing data every 24 hours from its current 30 or so Genome Analyzers from Illumina. The annual budget for the computer center is US$9 million.

SOAPdenovo is part of Short Oligonucleotide Analysis Package (SOAP), a suite of tools developed by BGI for de novo assembly of human-sized genomes, alignment, SNP detection, resequencing, indel finding, and structural variation analysis. Built for the Illumina sequencers' short reads, SOAPdenovo has been used to assemble multiple human genomes (identifying an eight kilobase insertion not detected by mapping to the human reference genome) and animals, like the giant panda. To download SOAP, visit http://soap.genomics.org.cn/. A discussion group is hosted on Google: http://groups.google.com/group/bgi-soap.


Founded September 9, 1999 at 9:09AM, an auspicious time in Chinese superstition, the institution has outgrown building after building—now spanning across offices around the globe.

In 2007, in accordance with BGI’s goal for developing projects and platforms that are on the cutting edge of research and technologies, the organization’s headquarters relocated to Shenzhen and founded the first citizen-managed, non-profit research institution in China. In October of that same year, BGI successfully completed the First Asian Diploid Genome Project, which was followed, in 2008, by the launch of the 1000 Genomes Project and the Giant Panda Genome Project. On June 19, 2008, with the support and approval of the Shenzhen municipal party committee and government, BGI-Shenzhen was officially recognized as a state agency.

The Institute has both a private and a public character. It receives funds both from private investors and the Chinese government. The laboratory is also the Bioinformatics Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Beijing Huada Genomics Research Center was the precursor of BGI.

In October 2003, The Beijing Genome Institute Hangzhou (Zhejiang) branch and Zhejiang University founded a new research institute, the James D. Watson Institute of Genome Sciences. The Watson Institute is intended to become a major center for research and education in East Asia modeled after the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

BGI Shenzhen received certification for meeting ISO9001:2008 requirements for design and provision of high-throughput sequencing services.

Purchase of 128 Illumina HiSeq 2000 Sequencers

For context, see a world map (does not yet include BGI's most recent sequencer purchases) of high throughput sequencers. http://pathogenomics.bham.ac.uk/hts/

BGI Americas

On April 27, 2010, BGI Americas was founded and set up its main office in Boston, MA, U.S.A. BGI Americas offers scientific and technological collaboration and services to all countries in North, Central, and South America, provides R&D in technology and product development, and seeks opportunities of cooperative projects in the fields of sequencing and bioinformatics. BGI Americas

BGI Europe

BGI Europe and its headquarter in Copenhagen, Denmark was established in 2010 as the European branch of BGI. May 17th 2010, the Sino-Danish Economic Cooperation Forum and the business contract signing ceremony was held in Copenhagen. Copenhagen, as headquarter of BGI-Europe, expects to establish a high-throughput sequencing platform within two years, to set up a production base in Europe and then outreach to all countries in Europe, collaborating research institutes and universities to establish joint labs in related areas. BGI-Europe will provide all European partners the opportunities in technology development, production design and project development, in fields of scientific research, agriculture and bioenergy, personal healthcare. BGI Europe

Genomes Sequenced



Silkworm Genome Project

BGI sequenced 40 domesticated and wild silkworms, identifying 354 genes likely important in domestication.

Giant Panda Genome Project

Sequencing revealed that the giant panda, Ailuropoda melanoleura, has a frameshift mutation in a gene involved in sensing savory flavors, T1R1. The mutation might be the genetic reason why the panda prefers bamboo over meat. However, the panda also lacks genes expected for bamboo digestion, so its microbiome might play a key role in metabolizing its main source of food.

See also


External links

www.cloud-sequencing.com (BGI Europe sequencing online store)

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