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CNGB-Shenzhen, NMNH announce biorepository agreement
by Kelsey Kaustinen  |  Email the author


PHILADELPHIA—China National Genebank Shenzhen (CNGB-Shenzhen) and the National Museum of Natural History have made a joint announcement regarding a new strategic agreement. Under the arrangement, the two organizations will promote biorepository and genomics research in addition to bolstering the mutual exchanges of experience in resource collection and sharing, infrastructure construction and information management.
Per the terms of the agreement, CNGB-Shenzhen and the National Museum of Natural History will, in addition to their work with the biorespository, also conduct scientific collaborations for establishing laboratory and data standards, data management and professional training and education. CNGB-Shenzhen will be responsible for providing high-throughput digitalization and informatics analysis as well as management for advancing applications. No financial details were disclosed.  
"It provides an unprecedented collaborative opportunity for NMNH and CNGB-Shenzhen to accelerate their growth, execute their global partnering strategy and support biodiversity research and development efforts," Yong Zhang, director of CNGB-Shenzhen, said in a press release. "Combining two organizations' world-leading expertise and extensive research experience in these fields, I believe we could seek more innovative solutions to better face the challenges of medical, environmental, energy, security, biodiversity protection and agricultural problems."
The National Museum of Natural History boasts several collections that total over 126 million specimens of animals, plants, fossils, rocks, minerals, meteorites and human cultural artifacts. The organization traditionally supports research through its collections. Since its establishment in 2011, CNGB-Shenzhen, which was developed based on BGI-Shenzhen's technology platforms and computational infrastructure to analyze and store the organizations omics data, has collected more than a million biological samples, including tissues, blood, cells and other bodily fluids.
One facet of the strategic agreement is the Biological Resource Bank that CNGB-Shenzhen has established. The Biological Resource Bank is an information database and network for use both domestically and globally, providing significant support for omics-related scientific research as well as applications to promote the undertaking's dual goals of biodiversity protection and sustainable development.
"The Global Genome Initiative is a Smithsonian-led effort to preserve the genomic diversity of life on Earth. As part of this program, NMNH is extremely pleased to partner with the China National Gene Bank (Shenzhen) to preserve and study comprehensive samples of Earth's genomic diversity," Dr. Jonathan Coddington, associate director of Research and Collections at NMNH, said in a statement. "Together we intend to support biodiversity genome science, to advance dramatically collection-based bioinformatics, to build the virtual, global biorepository and to train the next generation of genomic scientists. We believe synoptic collections of genome quality samples will be essential science infrastructure to address pressing human needs."  
The Global Genome Initiative is "a collaborative effort to create a solid foundation for genomic research through a global network of biorepositories and research organizations," according to the Smithsonian Institute's website. The initiative's goals are to collect and barcode a "synoptic sample" of the planet's genomic diversity, increase computational support and technological capacity for sequencing genomes, train the next generation of genomics researchers in biodiversity science and cryo-preserve 50 percent of the diversity of life in the next five years and make those collections available for research.  
SOURCE: BGI Americas press release                                 

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