BGI launches institute with leading genetic expert

Chinese genomics institute BGI Research on Oct. 26 announced that it has launched an institute of synthetic biology with George Church, a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School.

The George Church Institute of Regenesis, which will be established on the synthesis and editing platform of the China National Genebank, plans to focus its studies on three major cutting-edge fields, including high-density DNA storage, bio-manufacturing of natural materials, and medical genome editing.

George Church will be the chief scientist of the institute that bears his name.

Yang Huanming, BGI chairman and academician at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told Xinhua News Agency that Church has made a strong commitment to support the research of BGI, especially in the area of synthetic organisms.

“We are actively exploring for the innovative application of synthetic organisms in the fields of precision-medicine, in-vivo detection, and proteomics detection and treatment,” said Church, who has been a longtime advisor to BGI.

Xu Xun, director of BGI Research, believes that the rewriting of genes will be another major task of biosynthesis, following genetic sequencing, and the institute will be committed to the development of this technology.

Church is the director of a personal genome project at Harvard Medical School and he published the first direct genomic sequencing method in 1984. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry last year.

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