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Dr. Ren Wang, Senior Vice President of BGI Attended International Symposium on Agricultural Innovation for Family Farmers
Publish Date: 2018-11-24

From November 21-23, 2018, the first International Symposium on Agricultural Innovation for Family Farmers organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, was held in Rome, Italy. Dr. Ren Wang, Senior Vice President of BGI was invited to attend and deliver a keynote speech. The conference was attended by about 600 delegates, including 250 representatives of governments, civil society, farmers’ organizations, academia and research institutions, and the private sector from 76 countries.

The world is facing unprecedented global challenges that affect the sustainability of food and agriculture systems, and thus the livelihoods of millions of family farmers worldwide. The symposium was focused on agricultural innovation and to encourage all parties to find new solutions, partnerships and investments.

In his opening remarks, the Director-General of FAO stated that, in order to achieve sustainable development, rapid innovation in the agricultural sector is needed to address climate change issues and support family farmers.

Dr. Ren Wang introduced the current situation of diseases causing health-related poverty in some rural areas of China using echinococcosis and thalassemia as an example. He also shared the collaboration between some local governments and BGI based on the BGI’s innovative gene technology to eliminate endemic diseases and reduce disease-induced poverty.

Echinococcosis is one of the 17 neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO). The two major species of medical importance are Echinococcus granulosus and Echinococcus multilocularis. E. granulosus affects over 1 million people and is responsible for over $3 billion in expenses every year. In China, through the collaboration between BGI and Tibet autonomous region government, BGI has proactively assisted in prevention and control of echinococcosis by utilizing its advantages in omics technologies, pathogen testing technology, and big data analysis.

Dr. Ren Wang shared the current cooperation model as well as benefits of people’s livelihood, which aroused strong resonance among the audience.

Dr. Ren Wang also introduced the Ultra-High-Throughput MGISEQ-T7 sequencer recently launched by MGI, a subsidiary of BGI. The platform can complete whole genome sequencing for up to 60 human genomes in a single day and has daily data output of up to 6Tb. The excellent data process capability of MGISEQ-T7 was highly recognized by the audience.

“Innovation can be a powerful driver for poverty reduction and economic development in the developing countries; but it needs the support and enabling policies and investment from the national as well as local governments.” Said Dr. Ren Wang.