Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

BGI to Contribute to International Project to Sequence 200,000 Microbes

Premium

BGI said last week that it would contribute sample-prep, sequencing, and bioinformatics to the Earth Microbiome Project — an international initiative that aims to characterize 200,000 microbes from ocean, soil, air, freshwater, and underground ecosystems. Additionally, BGI will help identify sample collections in Asia for the project.

The Earth Microbiome Project is a multidisciplinary effort that formed last year to analyze microbial communities around the world. It has three main goals: to produce an inventory of protein family diversity; to define the microbial community structure; and to create a global database of samples, genes, and proteins that can be used to study fundamental questions about ecology.

The project is led by Jack Gilbert of Argonne National Laboratory and involves representatives from the University of Chicago; the University of California, Davis; the University of Southern California; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; the University of Colorado, Boulder; and elsewhere.

"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's president, Huanming Yang, said in a statement.

The Earth Microbiome Project is the largest sequencing project to ever be undertaken. Since "BGI is the biggest player in global sequencing," Gilbert said in a statement, "their participation is essential."

The EMP is just one of many large-scale sequencing collaborations that BGI is participating in, including the 1,000 Plant and Animal Genomes project, Genome 10K, the 1,000 Mendelian Disorders project, the International Cancer Genome Consortium, and collaborations with pharmaceutical companies.

A BGI Americas official recently provided an update on the institute's activities (see story, same issue).

The Scan

More Boosters for US

Following US Food and Drug Administration authorization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has endorsed booster doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, the Washington Post writes.

From a Pig

A genetically modified pig kidney was transplanted into a human without triggering an immune response, Reuters reports.

For Privacy's Sake

Wired reports that more US states are passing genetic privacy laws.

Science Paper on How Poaching Drove Evolution in African Elephants

In Science this week: poaching has led to the rapid evolution of tuskless African elephants.