The 2nd International Conference on Genomics in the Americas was Successfully Conducted in Sacramento
Publish Date: 2013-09-24

Omics-technologies Promote Future Life Science

Sacramento, CA, and Shenzhen, China, September 24, 2013 - The 2nd International Conference on Genomics in the Americas (ICG-Americas 2013), was successfully held on 12-13 September in Sacramento, CA. The conference was co-organized by BGI and University of California, Davis (UC Davis), providing an excellent opportunity for genomic luminaries, scientific leaders, senior pharmacy experts to congregate together and discuss the current progress and future perspectives on omics technologies and applications in human healthcare, agriculture, drug discovery and development, and other fields.

The Omics-technologies have been rapidly evolving in the past decade. The next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology representing one of these cutting-edge omics-technologies, has led to tremendous drop on sequencing cost and increase on sequencing throughput, and has been successfully applied in various research fields. Today, researchers have shown their confidence to sequence a human genome under $1,000, which is dramatically lower than the cost of the first human genome project finished 10 years ago. The genome sequencing has become a robust tool for researchers to explore the mysteries of the world.

Professor Linda Katehi, the Chancellor of UC Davis, and Professor Huanming Yang, the Chairman of BGI opened the conference with their warm welcome remarks to the 300 participants from all over the world. They both expected that the established ICG conference could serve as an excellent platform for further advancing Omics-technologies development and applications.

The conference was featured by the excellent presentations covering various topics, including the impact of genomics on the recent emergence of clinical application and crop improvement, as well as current status and considerations relative to the use of genomic data, with featured presentations from directors, senior executives and CEOs from BGI, Merck, Pfizer, Sanofi, GSK, Illumina, Life Technologies, NHGRI, FDA, USDA, Harvard, UC Davis, and many more.

Dr. Harris Lewin, Vice Chancellor of UC Davis, congratulated the official opening of BGI@UC Davis Joint Lab. Professor Katehi and Professor Yang also expressed their expectations on the joint lab to strengthen collaborations between China and the US in the future. Following the conference, the attendees visited BGI@UC Davis Joint lab and Complete Genomics, now a BGI’s company.

In the keynote speaker Dr. Leroy Hood’s report, he focused on six new opportunities that emerge from systems medicine and illustrated how these transform the way we approach diseases. He also mentioned that three converging opportunities—systems medicine, big data and patient-activated social networks—will lead to a proactive P4 medicine that is predictive, personalized, preventive and participatory (P4). P4 medicine will provide new approaches to drug target discovery.

Dr. Richard Roberts, Nobel Laureate, Chief Scientific Officer of New England Biolabs, exchanged his experience and ideas on optimizing the process of rigorous specificity determination of Bacterial DNA methyltransferases (MTases). He pointed out that the advent of SMRT sequencing offered new insights into the functioning of bacteria and has led to the discovery of many novel MTases with unexpected properties.

Another keynote highlight is from Dr. Jun Wang’s report. Most strains of gut microbes stay with human for decades, which may prove useful for tracking human health. From the metagenomic point of view, Dr. Wang, Director of BGI, shared his insights on how to use gut flora to explore personalized health in the Omics world. He introduced their lately developed protocol for a metagenome-wide association study (MGWAS) and a new strategy-metagenomic linkage group (MLG) to find the role of “dark matter” bacterial.

In Dr. Wang’s report, he also introduced the latest results of Autism Genome 10K project - a collaboration between Autism Speaks and BGI, and revealed the correlation between de novo mutation and autism spectrum. Looking forward, Dr. Wang introduced the Million Genomes Project in BGI with the aim to decode the genomes of a million human, a million plant & animal, and a million microbes in the future.   

This two-day world-class conference came to a close with appealing feedback from the audiences. As one of the world’s largest genomics organizations, BGI has held International Conference on Genomics (ICG) annually in China since 2006. It has been recognized as one of the most influential and fruitful annual conferences in “omics”. The ICG has proved itself as a platform to share our experiences and expertise, and more importantly, to share our visions and foresight of the whole field of “omics” and life sciences. The 8th International Conference on Genomics (ICG-8) will take place on October 30-November 1, 2013 in Shenzhen, China. More information, please visit www.icg-8.org.