A new advanced genomics research facility was inaugurated on 29 September 2021 at the headquarters of the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) to further genomic research on, among other things, healthier, more nutritious, and resilient crops for sustainable food systems. As a joint venture between ICBA and BGI Group, the world’s largest genomic research institution, the Desert Life Science Laboratory (DLSL) will help to fast-track the discovery and development of food and other crops suited to marginal environments. The establishment of the DLSL is a result of strategic collaboration between ICBA and BGI Group, and is in line with their shared objective of addressing global challenges such as hunger and poverty through use of cutting-edge science and technology. The lab is equipped with the high-throughput sequencer DNBSEQ-G400RS, which is manufactured by MGI, a subsidiary of BGI Group that focuses on R&D, production and sales of DNA sequencing instruments, reagents, and related products.
International Center for Biosaline Agriculture, Dubai, the United Arab Emirates
Desert Life Science Lab
During the inauguration, Dr. Ren Wang, Director of BGI Group and Director of China National GeneBank (Shenzhen), said: “The support to the joint ICBA-BGI laboratory by the government of the UAE and the ICBA management truly reflects a strategic vision to not only bring the plant research capacity of the center to a new level, but also scale up efforts of developing solutions to the challenges in the world’s marginal environments. In today’s genomics era of plant science, the state-of-the-art equipment of the joint lab will also boost the exchange and collaboration between ICBA and China. There are over 100 million hectares of salinity-prone agricultural land in China. We are excited about the potential of the joint lab to help China to combat such challenges as climate change, drought and salinity to ensure sustainable agriculture and food security.”