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BGI Purchases 454 GS FLX+ System to Help with De Novo Assembly

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BGI has purchased and installed Roche's 454 GS FLX+ system at its Shenzhen facility to use the system's long read capabilities to complement its array of short read sequencing platforms, BGI and 454 said today.

BGI currently has around 180 next-gen sequencers, the vast majority of them Illlumina HiSeq instruments. It also has Life Technologies' SOLiD and Ion Torrent PGM and as of November, it was demo-ing a MiSeq at its Hong Kong branch (CSN 11/30/2011).

The addition of 454's long read platform will help BGI with de novo assembly, according to Meifang Tang, director of BGI's NGS department.

With the 454 GS FLX+, "we hope assemblies will be greatly improved with fewer gaps and longer contigs and scaffolds in de novo genomics and transcriptomic research," Tang said in a statement.

Already, BGI said it has achieved read lengths of up to 1,000 base pairs at its Shenzhen facility.

BGI is currently involved in a number of large-scale sequencing projects, including the 1,000 Plant and Animal Reference Genomes project, for which it has thus far completed nearly 400 animal genomes and over 150 plant genomes (IS 11/29/2011).

The institute is also involved in a sequencing project with the International Rice Research Institute to sequence 10,000 rice varieties, the Earth Microbiome Project to sequence 200,000 microbes, and is collaborating with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico to sequence maize and wheat.

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