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The ICG-12 Conference Successfully Concludes with New Initiatives and Cross-Industry Collaboration in Genomics
Publish Date: 2017-11-01

On October 26, 2017, the 12th International Conference on Genomics (ICG-12) officially kicked-off at the China National GeneBank (CNGB), Shenzhen. The conference brought together the experts and scholars from around the world to discuss scientific research topics, developments in genomics, bioinformatics, bio-databases, precision medicine, and other topics on life science. The conference is organized by BGI Group, and co-organized by the CNGB and GigaScience, with the theme of "Omics for All" and the vision of Trans-omics for a Better Life. ICG-12 focused on recent breakthroughs and offered an open intellectual environment for creative thinking and frank discussion.

BGI Group Chairman Prof. Huanming Yang gave an opening speech on innovation and development in the life science field. Following this, Prof. George Church of Harvard and MITand BGI President Jian Wang announced the inauguration of the George Church Institute of Regenesis. The collaboration will focus on development in high-density DNA storage technology, biological production, and gene editing applications. 

Moreover, the inauguration of the Lars Bolund Institute of Regenerative Medicine was also announced during ICG-12. This new institute is the result of Lars Bolund’s close collaboration with BGI. Professor Lars Bolund, director of department of biomedicine in Aarhus University has carried out a large part of his research in China with a growing number of employees.

During ICG-12 conference, well known scientists and researchers from more than 20 countries shared their latest breakthroughs. In his speech, Prof. Church pointed out the development in gene reading and writing technology. In the future, gene-editing technology will have a better application in organ transplantation and medical diagnosis. Big data omics and global analysis will bring profound changes in understanding life; W. John Kress, the distinguished scientist and curator of botany at Smithsonian Institute National Museum of Natural History in the US, demonstrated the status of genomics and complex diversity of species in his scientific report. He described the impacts of anthropogenic climate change on animals and plants. 

On October 27, Dr. Mathias Uhlen discussed “the Human Protein Atlas - Implications for Human Biology, Drug Development and Precision Medicine,” pointing out a “silent” trend in the pharmaceutical industry - a majority of pharmaceutical top-sellers globally are biological, and proteins will be a crucial part in human medical treatment; Chris Andersen, founding partner of G.C Andersen Partners in the US,, described developments in the cardiovascular field in recent years and the social impact of genomics; Alfredo Jefferson, United Nations Deputy Director General of International Affairs in Asia and Latin America, described how genomics could play an important role in healthcare and challenges the UN is confronting, such as poverty and health. 

There were also several new collaborative programs launching during ICG-12. For instance, the new ISC-BGI Innovation Laboratory for Genomics and Insurance is the first cross-industry initiative in China, applying genomics science and technology to insurance practice. In addition, translated by BGI team, the Chinese version of two authoritative works in both genetic counselling and biomedical fields, Practical Genetic Counselling written by P.S. Harper and Nanomedicine-Science, Business and Impact by M. Hehenberger, were released during ICG-12 for the first time. 

On the last day of the ICG conference this year, the Carnival of Popular Science took place in the CNGB, promoting different themes as Evolution, Humanity, Space, Education, Sci-Fi, etc.

As an international conference with significant impact on the 'omics' field, the ICG is a collaborative community for scientific experts and scholars from all over the world, as well as for entrepreneurs in related fields. With the first anniversary of China National GeneBank (CNGB), the prospect of new high-throughput sequencing systems in BGI, and the significant achievements of the Synthetic Yeast Genome Project, we hope that more people will join us in promoting sustainable development in omics, and in sharing knowledge about the growth of cutting-edge technology.