11 Jul 2011

Sequencing huge BGI advances in bioinformatics

BGI apparently isn't satisfied with being the largest genome sequencing outfit in the world. The Chinese sequencing giant has a host of new and updated bioinformatics software offerings, which appear to expand the breadth of depth of its capabilities in the sequencing market. The company provided a first glimpse at the technology in an event and release last week.
For starters, the Shenzhen, China-based company revealed its updated software used in assembling raw genomic data into coherent sequences. To make sequence information useful to scientists, the firm showed it latest tools for analyzing the data to identify abnormalities in the sequence that could aid in disease research. The company has also developed cloud-based applications to enable its customers to, say, assemble sequencing data more quickly and cheaply than traditional computing methods.
Already boasting a massive sequencing operation in China, BGI clearly sees the value in providing services and technology beyond decoding genomes for customers. As sequencing a genome--which can now be done for roughly $5,000--has become more of a commodity service, BGI and its competitors such as Complete Genomics ($GNOM) are jockeying to capture growing demand for technology and services that help customers such as drug R&D groups identify the gene mutations and other abnormalities in genomes that make sequencing information useful in their research.
"These new capabilities enhance and complement BGI's existing state-of-the-art bioinformatics software applications for individual and population based research in animals, plants, microbes and human disease areas," said Yingrui Li, director of the science and technology department at BGI. "This is the first time BGI has provided detailed insights into our latest bioinformatics applications, pipelines and tools."

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