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Chinese Genome Sequencing Firm to Supply Tech to Abu Dhabi Personalized Health Care Project

By Ding Yi / Dec 13, 2019 11:41 AM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Chinese genomics company BGI Group will take part in a potentially groundbreaking medical project to improve the physical well-being of people in the United Arab Emirates by using genomic data, according to a Wednesday company filing to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

BGI will contribute its genome sequencing technology to the project, named the Genome Program, which aims to create a massive health care system allowing doctors to make personalized diagnoses and treatment options, the company said. The project is led by the Department of Health-Abu Dhabi.

To achieve that goal, the program will build a reference genome specific to citizens in the United Arab Emirates, the Department of Health-Abu Dhabi said in a statement published on its website.

The department hailed the Genome Program as the “first of its kind” in the world, saying it will provide Emiratis with their own genome as a baseline and then incorporate the genomic data into their healthcare management.

Other participants of the program include Group 42, an Abu Dhabi-based technology firm, and Oxford Nanopore Technologies, a U.K.-based company developing products capable of directly sequencing single molecules. Group 42’s supercomputer, Artemis, will be used to analyze the massive data, according to the health department’s statement.

Last year, Shenzhen-listed BGI drew criticism after the company was found to have illegally conducted a genetics study with Oxford University in 2015 which led to the export of human genetic resources. BGI said at the time that it had resolved the case through a “rectification procedure.”

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: Chinese DNA Sequencing Firm BGI Faces Legal Battle With Illumina
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