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On November 26, 2018, China National GeneBank (CNGB) and BGI-Research and the Macquarie University of Australia formally signed a cooperation agreement during the 7th International Yeast 2.0 and Synthetic Genomes Conference 2018 in Sydney, Australia. The two sides will jointly promote scientific research and education in synthetic biology, and focus on engineering bacteria transformation of natural products in synthetic biology.
Prof. Sakkie Pretorius, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) of Macquarie University (left) and Dr. Hongqi Wang, Vice President of BGI
Dr. Hongqi Wang, Vice President of BGI and Prof. Sakkie Pretorius, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) of Macquarie University signed the cooperation agreement on behalf of respective sides. The signing ceremony was witnessed by Mr. Jef Boeke, Founding Director of the Institute of Systems Genetics at NYU Langone Medical Center; Mr. Ian Paulsen, Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow and Distinguished Professor; Mr. Yi Ren, Executive Director of Research Training and International Research Training Partnerships at Macquarie University; Mr. Ping Lu, Counselor of Science and Technology of Consulate General of PRC in Sydney; Mr. Zixuan Han, Deputy Consul of Science and Technology; Mr. Anqi Zhan, Chief Representative of Guangdong Economic and Trade Representative Office in Australia; Dr. Yang Bicheng, Director of BGI Australia; academician of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and academician of the National Academy of Sciences.
In the next five years, CNGB and Macquarie University will fully leverage their resources to focus on bilateral cooperation in the fields of synthetic biology, metabolic engineering, and natural product synthesis. The two sides will work together with the goal to jointly opening new channels for talent training, to explore opportunities for industrialization of scientific research projects, and to drive related areas development in China and Australia.
In recent years, synthetic biology has been rapidly developed in domestic and overseas markets, which provides a wide range of implementation prospect in bio-manufacturing, pharmacology, energy, environment, and agriculture. As the leaders in bioscience and bio-industry, CNGB and BGI-Research provide a powerful platform for the development of scientific research and industry. With its Synthesis and Editing Platform, CNGB offers a supportive system that enables integration of “reading to writing” and “design to synthesis”. BGI-Research strives to develop cutting-edge technologies and build a world-level research platform. Both have built various cooperation with global leading research institutions. The collaboration with Macquarie University was also initiated in 2017 with their joint endeavor in the Synthetic Yeast Genome Project.
In 2017, CNGB and BGI-Research as key participants completed the de novo redesign and synthesis of several chromosomes of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The CNGB and BGI-Research team has led the completed redesign and synthesis of the chromosome II which is 770 kilobase pair long and transformed it into a yeast cell resulting in a synthetic strain that is consistent to the wildtype one in terms of viability. Part of the finding was published as the cover story on the March 9, 2017, special issue of Science journal and was selected as "Top Ten Science and Technology Advances of 2017 in China". Macquarie University is also one of the participants of this iconic international cooperation project.
The signing of the cooperation agreement will facilitate the cooperation in synthetic biology and natural product transformation.
Research results of the International Project on Yeast Genome Synthesis Published as a cover article in the journal Science
“CNGB has always regarded Australia as one of the key collaborating countries and has now established close cooperation with a number of research institutions in Australia. This cooperation with Macquarie University has not only deepened the scientific research cooperation between China and Australia but also further strengthened the international influence of the two countries in the field of synthetic biology." Said Mr. Jason Chen, Director of Global Partnership Business Development of CNGB.
“Synthetic biology, gene editing, brain science, and regenerative medicine are known as the directions that will bring significant changes to the life sciences,” said Dr. Yue Shen, Director of the Synthesis and Editing Platform of CNGB. “Macquarie University and CNGB as co-participants in the 'Synthetic Yeast Genome Project', have accumulated a profound scientific research foundation in the field of synthetic biology, and this will be a strong cooperation for both sides to achieve further breakthroughs in scientific industry and create opportunities for talent training.”
Dr. Yue Shen will also attend a seminar on international research and training cooperation held by Macquarie University in January 2019. At that time, the two sides will further implement the details of the project and make full use of the cooperation opportunity to jointly promote the development of synthetic biology.
About Macquarie University:
Founded in 1964, Macquarie University is a public research university located in Sydney, Australia. It has been given five stars by the international QS stars rating system in teaching, research, facilities, innovation and specialist subjects. Macquarie University is ranked among the top 1% of universities in the world. The government’s Excellence in Research Australia honored 5 of the university’s research areas with having above world standard performances, which are the fields of Psychology and Cognitive Sciences, Earth Sciences, Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences, and the Environment Sciences.
BGI-Research is a non-profit institution focusing on multi-omics based research and applications in life sciences, biotechnology and medical fields.
BGI-Research owns cutting-edge technologies in large-scale sequencing, bio-informatics, high-throughput mass spectrometry, agricultural genomics and proteomics, and houses a world-level supercomputing center for mass data processing. Backed by a top-flight team of scientists and researchers, the institute conducts diversified genomic studies concerning significant animals and plants, human health, environment and energy, and other realms.
BGI has well-established expertise in genome reading and writing technologies. Its pre-eminence in this field is marked by a series of world-class achievements, especially the profound involvement in the Synthetic Yeast Genome Project (Sc2.0) in March 2017.
As the first national gene bank approved and funded by the Chinese government, CNGB is committed to support scientific research, public welfare, innovation, and industrial infrastructure construction. Based on the abilities to "store, read, and write" genetic information, CNGB serves as an open platform that provides access to and enables exchange and sharing of genetic data and resources to advance the development of the life sciences and bio-economy.