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BGI Joins Earth Microbiome Project

By a GenomeWeb Staff Reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – BGI will provide a range of services and support for the Earth Microbiome Project, an effort to sample, sequence, and analyze microbial communities from all over the globe.

The multi-disciplinary EMP effort, the largest sequencing project yet undertaken, will conduct metagenomics studies of 200,000 samples of microbes from soil, air, sea, and freshwater systems from around the world to produce a global Gene Atlas.

BGI said today that it will lead the effort to identify sample collections in Asia, and it will provide DNA extraction, amplification, sequence library construction, and sequencing for metagenomics projects. The Shenzhen, China-based institute also will use its computational resources to develop the bioinformatics pipeline that will provide the analysis framework for the vast amount of data the EMP will produce.

"Given the essential role of microbes for life on our planet, and our lack of understanding of their complexity and diversity, it is critical that we conquer this unknown frontier," BGI Chairman Huanming Yang said in a statement. "With BGI's next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics capabilities, we believe we can contribute in a meaningful way to improve our collective understanding of the role and importance of microbes."

The EMP effort also includes Argonne National Laboratory, the University of Chicago, the University of Colorado-Boulder, Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, and the US Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute.

BGI also said that it will host the First International Earth Microbiome Project Conference in Shenzhen this June.

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