BGI (formerly known as Beijing Genomics Institute), the largest genomic organization in the world, and National Wolfberry Engineering Research Center of Ningxia Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences jointly announced to initiate "Chinese Wolfberry Genome Project". This project will provide important scientific values for increasing wolfberry production with high yields and good quality, and also contribute to studies on the abundant gene resource relating to its pharmacological effect.
Wolfberry, commercially called goji berry, is a precious Chinese medicinal herb, which is characterized by its high nutrient value and antioxidant content. Cultivated along the Yellow River for more than 600 years, Ningxia wolfberries come from Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region of north-central China, earning a reputation throughout Asia for premium quality sometimes described commercially as "red diamonds".
Traditional wolfberry researches only focus on basic biology studies including the extraction and separation of the active component, pharmacology, genetic engineering, cultivation and so on. It is difficult to unravel the species' evolution and the global distribution characteristics. However, wolfberry genome research lays the foundation of the studies on the gene resource, species genetic diversity, variations of ecological factor, among others, which will facilitate applications in exploring high-quality germplasm resources, breeding and cultivating, producing and managing.
Prof. Guangrong Liu, principal of Ningxia Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences, commented, "I believe with BGI's resources in genome sequencing and bioinformatics, combined with our rich experience in the biological studies of wolfberry, this project will progress with success in the future."
Prof. Jian Wang, the president of BGI, said, "BGI is gratified to provide a platform for researchers and scientists to share their hands-on experiences and findings in their respective fields of interest. With our dedication in genomics research and bioinformatics application, I sincerely hope that BGI continues to make more contributions in agriculture development. " .
Based on the next-generation high-throughput sequencing and bioinformatics technologies, BGI is the only genomic organization with an extensive focus on agricultural genomics research. "Together with the collaborators, so far BGI has initiated 505 plant and animal genome projects, completed fine or draft genome maps for over 100 species and finished the sequencing of about 200 species, including oyster, Arabian Camel, Crested Ibis, goose and so on. Many other genomes are in process of active sequencing." BGI announced at its 2nd Annual Conference of "1000 Plant & Animal Reference Genomes Project".