Joint Ancient-DNA Centre Established by NWU and BGI Group

On November 2, the “NWU-BGI Joint Ancient-DNA Center” was established with Yang Huanming, academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and dean of GBI College, and Guo Lihong, president of NWU jointly unveiling the plaque.  

With the establishment of the laboratory, collaborations will be carried out in three fields: Ancient-DNA research platform construction, talent cultivation and scientific research.

    The collaboration will start with the establishment of ancient-DNA lab with the support of Key Laboratory of Cultural Heritage Research and Protection Technology, Ministry of Education and the Center for Science and Technology Archaeology. Based on this, a joint talent training program will be set up including the setting up of teaching programs, jointly supervising students’ graduation thesis, exchange of teaching staff and academic events to cultivate high-end talent in Ancient-DNA research.  Systematic researches will be carried out through making full use of the 5,000 human bones from the Warring States Period, Qin and Han Dynasties, to explore the diversity of ancient DNA resources combined with continuing research on specific animal and plant genomes to produce high-quality research results.


Attendees of the ceremony include Professor Clausen, Honorary Professor of Pathology, University of Oslo, Norway; Teresa Liang, U.S. Patent Agent; Michael Morgan, Head of the International Human Genome Project and former CEO of the Wellcome Foundation; Susan Morgen, Honorary Lecturer in Population and Public Health Sciences and Professor of Bioethics, Leicester University; Nitin Udar, Senior Manager of Illumina Scientific Research; Tilahun Yilma, academician of the National Academy of Sciences,USA;  Yang Shuang, Executive Vice President of BGI Group, and Lv Jianrong, member of the Standing Committee of the Party Committee and director of the president’s office, NWU and heads of Science and Technology Office and School of Cultural Heritage. And the ceremony was presided over by head of School of Cultural Heritage, NWU.

President Guo Lihong stated that the unveiling of the lab symbolizes a solid step on the road of joint and in-depth cooperation between NWU and BGI Group. It also marks an important point in the development of NWU’s Scientific and Technological Archaeological Research Center and the archaeology. The key collaboration projects, including scientific archeology, heritable disease research in the Qinling-Bashan area, gene bank cooperation and institutional cooperation have been fully launched. We hope that the two sides can cooperate sincerely and achieve fruitful results in the near future.

Tilahun Yilma and Michael Morgen expressed their great honor to be invited to attend the unveiling ceremony, witnessing the cooperation between the two sides, and looking forward to seeing the results of the cooperation.

The Executive Director of the Laboratory, Professor Wen Rui from School of Cultural Heritage, NWU and Executive Vice President Yang Shuang from BGI Group spoke on behalf of both sides respectively. Wen Rui said that the ancient-DNA laboratory will integrate the profound archaeological research accumulation at NWU with the advanced gene sequencing technology of BGI Group, which will facilitate the rapid development in ancient-DNA research and become an important innovation in archaeological research at NWU. Yang Shuang said that as an alumnus he is glad to promote this cooperation, and will do his best in stimulating the research development by engaging in the building of a laboratory with sound quality.

An academic exchange on archaeology and ancient DNA research was carried out after the unveiling ceremony.

The collaboration between NWU and BGI Group started on January 10, 2018 when two sides signed the "Strategic Cooperation Agreement" to carry out strategic cooperation in personnel training, scientific research, and joint medical school construction. The establishment of the ancient DNA laboratory is another important step to effectively promote strategic cooperation between the two sides.