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U of Copenhagen, BGI Finalize Agreement to Collaborate on Sequencing Projects

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This article was originally published Aug. 27.

Chinese genome center BGI and the University of Copenhagen signed an agreement last week to collaborate on research on the genetic underpinnings of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cancer.

In May, BGI announced that it would open an office in Copenhagen to serve as the institute's European headquarters for sequencing and bioinformatics. It has also opened a branch in Boston and has said it plans to follow with branches in Australia and Southeast Asia (IS 5/25/2010).

"We look forward to many years of research cooperation between BGI and the University of Copenhagen, concentrating on generating new and groundbreaking knowledge about hereditary diseases in animals and humans," BGI's founder Jian Wang said in a statement.

The agreement formalizes a cooperative partnership that has been in place for several years. For example, the university and BGI have collaborated on such projects as the sequencing of an ancient human, published in Nature in February, and the sequencing of gut bacteria from 124 individuals as part of the Metagenomics of the Human Intestinal Tract, or MetaHIT, project (IS 3/9/2010). Additionally, Danish students are currently studying at BGI-Shenzhen and vice versa.

The two organizations are also collaborating on the sequencing of the pig genome, and last year established the Sino-Danish Cancer Research Center, which is located at BGI in Shenzhen, in collaboration with Aarhus University, Denmark University, and others.

"In this center, top researchers from Denmark and China have joined forces to develop new methods of diagnosing and treating the disease," Per Holten-Andersen, the dean of faculty of life sciences at the University of Copenhagen, said in a statement. "I am convinced that this new cooperation agreement will further strengthen the ties between Chinese and Danish research."

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