From “Made in China” to “Sequenced in China”

12 03 2010
Download a PDF of this story.  Chinese bioscience: The sequence factory.


To fulfil that mission, the BGI is transforming itself into a genomics
factory, producing cheap, high-quality sequence with an army of young
bioinformaticians and a growing arsenal of expensive equipment. In
January, the BGI announced the purchase of 128 of the world’s newest,
fastest sequencers, the HiSeq 2000 from Illumina, each of which can
produce 25 billion base pairs of sequence in a day. When all are
running at full tilt, the BGI could theoretically sequence more than
10,000 human genomes in a year. This puts it on track to surpass the
entire sequencing output of the United States, says David Wheeler,
director of the Molecular Biology Computational Resource at Baylor
College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. "It is clear there is a new map
of the genomics world," he says.  

//做世界的测序工厂也没有什么不好的,起码前几年的"Made in China"是‘让一部分中国人先富起来了’。只是我担心的是quality。

Research alone is not going to pay back the 10-billion renminbi bank
loan. The BGI makes some income from collaborations, which account for
40% of the sequencing workload. Outsourced sequencing services for
universities, breeding companies or pharmaceutical companies bring in
higher margins and account for another 55% of the workload (the final
5% is the BGI’s own projects). In 2009, the BGI pulled in 300 million
renminbi in revenue. That is not enough, says BGI marketing director
Hongsheng Liang. In 2010, Liang hopes to pull in 1.2 billion renminbi.

// 杨校友已经是一个地道的businessman,生意越做越大了,果然不愧是温州人。

Single institutions that bank on a single technology may lose their edge when the technology goes out of date.

// 太明显不过的暗示:中国未来的sequencing市场需要群雄并起!

Asked why he didn’t stagger his investment in sequencers to take
advantage of new technology as it appears, he says he’ll just replace
what he has when the time comes. He admits, however, that if that time
comes too soon, he will be out of luck.

// 呵,他们大概不知道杨校友是温州人!这个问题就像问一个温州做打火机生意的商人:你为什么不投资研发新型的打火机?SB问题!

"There are plenty of risks, but I admire that," says Olson. By
aggressively seeking collaborations and new technologies, the BGI’s
ambitious approach will no doubt continue to turn heads. "The bottom
line is that the BGI is doing something exciting. It is a Chinese
solution to the challenge of developing stronger science. Time will
tell how well it works."

// 又一个中国特色!



One response

12 03 2010


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