• China launches national gene bank

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    CHINA has opened its first national gene storage bank, a more than 47,500 square-meter facility with a reported price tag of nearly $1 billion, the government’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) announced.

    The China National GeneBank (CNBG), which has been under development since 2011, is just the fourth national-level gene bank in the world, joining similar facilities in the US, Europe, and Japan.

    The Shenzhen-based facility includes a biorepository, a bioinformatics data center and a living biobank, the NDRC said.

    The facility was initiated by the NDRC in 2011 in a public-private partnership with BGI, the world’s largest genomics organization. BGI contributed 360 million yuan (about $54 million) to phase one of the project, and will continue to develop and maintain the facility.

    Phase one of the biorepository will store more than ten million genetic samples from humans, plants, animals and microbes. Research at the bioinformatics data center, on the other hand, will be focused on establishing a high-performance data management system to store and interpret biological information. The living bank is expected to save and protect around 300,000 species of plants and millions of animals and microbes, and accelerate digitization of resources to lead to other innovative applications, the NDRC statement explained.

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