PHILADELPHIA—China National Genebank Shenzhen(CNGB-Shenzhen) and the National Museum of Natural History have made a jointannouncement regarding a new strategic agreement. Under the arrangement, thetwo organizations will promote biorepository and genomics research in additionto bolstering the mutual exchanges of experience in resource collection andsharing, infrastructure construction and information management.
Per the terms of the agreement, CNGB-Shenzhen and theNational Museum of Natural History will, in addition to their work with thebiorespository, also conduct scientific collaborations for establishinglaboratory and data standards, data management and professional training andeducation. CNGB-Shenzhen will be responsible for providing high-throughputdigitalization and informatics analysis as well as management for advancingapplications. No financial details were disclosed.
"It provides an unprecedented collaborative opportunity forNMNH and CNGB-Shenzhen to accelerate their growth, execute their globalpartnering strategy and support biodiversity research and development efforts,"Yong Zhang, director of CNGB-Shenzhen, said in a press release. "Combining twoorganizations' world-leading expertise and extensive research experience in thesefields, I believe we could seek more innovative solutions to better face thechallenges of medical, environmental, energy, security, biodiversity protectionand agricultural problems."
The National Museum of Natural History boasts severalcollections that total over 126 million specimens of animals, plants, fossils,rocks, minerals, meteorites and human cultural artifacts. The organizationtraditionally supports research through its collections. Since itsestablishment in 2011, CNGB-Shenzhen, which was developed based onBGI-Shenzhen's technology platforms and computational infrastructure to analyzeand store the organizations omics data, has collected more than a millionbiological samples, including tissues, blood, cells and other bodily fluids.
One facet of the strategic agreement is the BiologicalResource Bank that CNGB-Shenzhen has established. The Biological Resource Bankis an information database and network for use both domestically and globally,providing significant support for omics-related scientific research as well asapplications to promote the undertaking's dual goals of biodiversity protectionand sustainable development.
"The Global Genome Initiative is a Smithsonian-led effort topreserve the genomic diversity of life on Earth. As part of this program, NMNHis extremely pleased to partner with the China National Gene Bank (Shenzhen) topreserve and study comprehensive samples of Earth's genomic diversity," Dr.Jonathan Coddington, associate director of Research and Collections at NMNH, saidin a statement. "Together we intend to support biodiversity genome science, toadvance dramatically collection-based bioinformatics, to build the virtual,global biorepository and to train the next generation of genomic scientists. Webelieve synoptic collections of genome quality samples will be essentialscience infrastructure to address pressing human needs."
The Global Genome Initiative is "a collaborative effort tocreate a solid foundation for genomic research through a global network ofbiorepositories and research organizations," according to the SmithsonianInstitute's website. The initiative's goals are to collect and barcode a"synoptic sample" of the planet's genomic diversity, increase computationalsupport and technological capacity for sequencing genomes, train the nextgeneration of genomics researchers in biodiversity science and cryo-preserve 50percent of the diversity of life in the next five years and make thosecollections available for research.
SOURCE: BGI Americas press release