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BGI Partners with US Researchers to Sequence 100 Human Adenoviruses

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Researchers from China and the US will sequence 100 human adenoviruses, including ones that cause respiratory, gastrointestinal, and ocular diseases, under a partnership announced today.

BGI, George Mason University, the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center announced they have signed the agreement, which aims to identify the molecular basis of adenovirus evolution.

"With whole genome sequencing provided by BGI, we will be able to answer how these viruses change over time, including how fast, enabling researchers to identify emerging pathogens, develop effective treatments, including vaccines, and begin to understand how to predict pathogens," Donald Seto, a professor in the School of Systems Biology at GMU, said in a statement.

Human adenoviruses were first isolated in 1953 and were initially identified as respiratory pathogens. The DNA viruses are now known to cause a range of diseases such as ocular, gastrointestinal, and metabolic disorders.

Since 1953, 67 new types of human adenoviruses have been isolated, the collaborators said, adding that genome recombination is crucial in the molecular evolution of the viruses as new strains emerge and old ones re-emerge but change or are more virulent.

For example, a recent outbreak of respiratory infections in China was initially believed to be SARS-related, but genomic analysis pinned the outbreak as a respiratory tract infection cause by adenovirus type 55, the collaborators said.

All IP resulting from the project will be shared by the partners and their collaborators. Further terms were not disclosed.

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