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17 May 2017, New York, USA - Dr. Feng Mu, CEO of BGI, the world’s leading genomics organization, explained how genetics technology could help address some of the most pressing challenges facing humankind in the areas of health, medicine, food security, and biodiversity at the United Nations SDG Action Event on Innovation and Connectivity. He introduced successful examples of BGI’s application of genetics technology in some of the remote or underdeveloped areas in China, and called for building international standards and consensuses for application of genetics technology and forming cross-border Public-Private Partnerships to harmonize efforts for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The SDGs are a set of 17 “Global Goals” spearheaded by the United Nations, aiming to end poverty and hunger, improve health and education, make cities more sustainable, combat climate change, and protect oceans and forests by 2030.
Dr. Feng Mu, a pioneer in genetics technology, elaborated on the effectiveness of cutting-edge genetics technology on solving world’s pressing issues. “Using DNA sequencing technology, BGI quickly developed virus testing kits during the outbreak of pandemics such as SARS and Ebola, effectively curbing the fast spread of virus,” said Mu. “Besides early detection of infectious diseases, we have also conducted more than one million cases of neonatal deafness testing in China which contribute to early intervention in early childhood for those with deafness gene,” he added.
According to the data from National Human Genome Research Institute, the cost of sequencing a human genome has declined from $100M in 2001 to $1K or lower in 2015(DNA Sequencing Costs: Data: https://www.genome.gov/sequencingcostsdata/). “The drastic reduction in DNA sequencing costs is due to the rapid technological changes, which ‘keeps up’ with the Moore’s law and indicate the potential of exponential growth on genome science and technology application,” Mr. Dejian Yu, the executive vice president of BGI commented.
“Cutting-edge new technologies can only reach its fullest potential to benefit humankind and planet earth if implemented with a long-term vision and a sustainable development model,” said Ms. Ao Kong, BGI’s spokesperson and head of strategic communications and public affairs. She continued to explain that BGI integrated its non-profit arm into the company’s main operational model, enabling the organization to build a high throughput sequencing platform, provide cost-effective genome-based solutions and conduct infrastructure and capacity building in places where BGI operates with its partners. “BGI is honored to share this model on the most prestigious world stage as a reference for more companies to integrate corporate social responsibility into their vision and business development. ”
“The common wisdom would never imagine that innovative technologies could be adopted first in remote or underdeveloped areas, but BGI demonstrates a new way of thinking and operating by bringing genetics technology to stemming diseases in areas like Guizhou, Henan and Tibet in China and in countries along ‘the Belt and Road’.” Kong commented, “ from that experience we learn that defining and executing our own unique vision and building broad partnerships with mutual respect always pay back. That’s what fuels the fast growth of Chinese companies on the world stage. ”
Representatives from BGI: Ao Kong, Feng Mu, Dejian Yu
About Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), officially known as Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a set of 17 “Global Goals” with 169 targets between them.