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Australian National University, BGI Ink MOU for Genetic Research

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Australian and Chinese researchers have reached an agreement to conduct research into genetic associations in diseases in the hope of developing new diagnostics and therapies.

Under the memorandum of understanding signed by the Australian National University and BGI, announced earlier this week, the partners will establish joint research programs, share staff and knowledge, and create a new shared facility for genomics sequencing. The genomics sequencing and bioinformatics facility will be located at the John Curtin School of Medical Research, and research programs in human obesity, clinical depression, personalized therapeutics, and the mouse genome have already begun.

In addition, other programs will be implemented in the future, including a joint phenomics and sequencing project to develop a comprehensive set of genetic variants "that will provide researchers with analogs and models for human diseases," ANU said in a statement.

Researchers will study genetically manipulated mice in parallel with human genetic research in order to investigate treatments. In addition, the development of new diagnostics may spin out from the work, Ed Bertram, Australian Director of the China-Australia Centre for Phenomics Research, which will be involved in the research, told GenomeWeb Daily News in an e-mail.

"From this effort will come major discoveries and commercial opportunities for Australian and Chinese research teams," he said in a statement.

Yong Zhang, vice president of BGI, said the partnership "lays the foundations for Australian science to collaborate on a number of fronts, including with the very strong genomic capability being developed in BGI."

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