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Strengthening Partnerships: CNGB’s Biobank is Unveiled in Xianhu

July 18, 2017
Strengthened Partnership: CNGB’s Biobank is Unveiled in Xianhu

The Shenzhen Xianhu biobank of CNGB was officially unveiled at the Shenzhen Xianhua Botanical Garden. Officials were gathered to witness the ceremony.

Zhang Guohong, the host of the ceremony and the director of the garden, discussed the background of the Xianhu Botanical Garden. The garden is home to 12,000 plants and the largest collection of germplasm resources in south China. These germplasm resources include species such as Magnoliaceae, Begonia Branch, Gesneriaceae, Cycads, and Ferns lags. The establishment of the biobank is expected to expand the garden’s capacity for research, genome sequencing, preservation of rare and endangered species, as well as botanical applications.

Wang Jian, the Chairman of BGI, explained the importance of CNGB, carried out by BGI, as the first-ever gene bank in China. Since the opening of CNGB in September 2016, three sub-banks and two platforms have been working together in one organization. With resources from R&D and industry services being combined into one facility, the service network covers the globe. CNGB initiated the Belt and Road Gene Association and has subsequently formed a partnership with 66 nations and regions, offering numerous benefits to members such as integrated learning and development of gene banks.

“The biobank of CNGB is a global platform for bio-diversity research and protection,” said Mei Yonghong, the Chairman of BGI Agriculture Group. “We are aiming to build a Chinese version of Noah’s Ark to preserve the germplasm of around 300,000 plants, millions of animal species and tens of millions microorganisms.” Xianhu Botanical Garden shares the same goals with CNGB and is making progress on preserving the germplasm. The project aims to digitalize the biobank and plant data.

Zhu Weihua, vice president of Shenzhen Municipal Urban Planning Bureau, explained that the establishment of the biobank is a new chapter for the partnership between BGI and CNGB, where botanical data can be digitalized and made commercial. Ahead of the 19th XIX International Botanical Congress, which will be held in Shenzhen July 23-29, the timing of the biobank demonstrates the commitment of both sides. The officials hope the partnership sets an example for further exchanges and cooperation within the industry and helps to make Shenzhen the hub of technology and innovation.