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BGI Life

BGI, Bloomberg Businessweek's Lauren Hilgers writes, has established itself as the largest commercial genomic sequencing company in the world, powered by an army of young, college-educated workers — the average age of BGI's 3,000 workers is 26, she notes.

Not only is BGI expanding in China — when it was associated with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, it was limited to having 90 scientists — it is in the midst of acquiring California-based Complete Genomics, which, Hilgers says, will help BGI improve its data storage capabilities. "Even as BGI improves its technology, its biggest strength remains all those cheap, highly educated analysts," Hilgers adds.

Some workers live in BGI dorms and the company has a number of clubs as well as an annual basketball tournament; Jun Wang, the executive director of BGI likens it to a college campus, Hilgers says. Though, it's a college campus tackling a number of genomic projects.

"When I ask Wang how BGI determines which plants and animals to sequence as part of its '1,000 Plants and Animals' project, he answers, 'We start with anything tasty,'" Hilgers writes.

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