EHEC bacterium sequencer goes Danish

Nieuws | de redactie
13 februari 2012 | The Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) opens its first European sequencing center in Denmark. Known for its EHEC breakthrough last year, BGI will cooperate with Copenhagen University. “This center will play an important role in life sciences and industry in Denmark and Europe,” pledges the institute’s cofounder.

Remember EHEC? This aggressive and highly contagious “cucumber”bacterium kept Europe on the edge as reports came in that thousandsinfected themselves with large outbreaks located in Germany. In theend, it appeared that cucumbers were not carrying the germ afterall causing particular outrage among Dutch and Spanish farmers whosuffered heavy revenue losses.

Focus on health care, agriculture,bio-energy

An early breakthrough in assessing the EHEC threat was achievedby two research teams in China and Germany. The Beijing GenomicsInstitute (BGI) with its large scale high tech equipment managed tosequence the genes of the bacterium within afew days. The very same institute has now opened its first sequencing center inCopenhagen.

BGI’s new European outpost is located at the Copenhagen BioScience Park (COBIS)and will cooperate closely with Copenhagen University and a numberof other renowned Danish research institutes. The operations willbe run on a 1.200 m2 area with 10 Illumina HiSeq 2000sequencers.

In the past, BGI contributed significantly to the Human GenomeProject (HGP).Now, this expertise will be applied to the task of geneticallymapping 1% of the Danish population. Furthermore, BGI aims atidentifying certain pathogens, an important towards a vaccine forcancer.

Sino-Danish cooperation

Backing this new Sino-Danish cooperation, the local governmenthopes to facilitate significant advances in the treatment of cancerand metabolic diseases. Speaking at the opening, Piao Olsen Dyhr,Danish Minister for Trade and Investment, said that “Scientific andcommercial breakthroughs here in the BGI genome research centerwill be the best way of attracting further attention toDenmark.”

Yang Huanming, Co-founder and Chairman of BGI added: “I am veryconfident this joint institute will contribute a lot to genomics inDenmark, in Europe, and over the whole world. This center will playan important role in life sciences and industry in Denmark andEurope.”

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