December 18, 2011, Shenzhen, China and Inner Mongolia -- BGI, the world's largest genomics organization, Inner Mongolia Agricultural University (IMAU), and Inner Mongolia University for the Nationalities (IMUN) jointly announced the first complete sequencing of Mongolian genome. This genomic study will help researchers to better understand the evolutionary process and migration of Mongolians and their ancestors from Africa to Asia, which also lays an important genomic foundation for further development of human genetic disease research.
Mongol is a central Asian ethnic group mostly inhabited in Mongolia, Inner Mongolia in China and Buryatia in Russia with about ten million ethnic mongol people. Tracing back to the 13th and 14th Century, the "Mongol Empire" was commonly referred as the "largest contiguous empire" in world history, and its territory stretched from the Yellow Sea in eastern Asia to the borders of eastern Europe under the leadership of Genghis Khan and his descendants.
The vast empire had promoted exchange of new technology, commodities and culture, as well as trade and migration between different ethnic groups across Europe and Asia. The migration of Mongol in Eurasia Region including China, Middle East and Russia during the period of Mongol Empire has always been debated by scientists. The study of Monlogian genome will provide new insights to their potential impact on the human evolution at the genetic level.
In this study, the DNA sample was from a male adult who belongs to the Mongolian "Royal Family" and is the 34th generation descendant of Genghis Khan. "The sample is very valuable for the study with a full record of family pedigree and no background of intermarriage between other ethnic groups," said Professor Huanmin Zhou, Project Investigator and Director of Science and Technology at IMAU.
"With the completion of the first Mongolian genome, we believe that the genomics study of Mongolian will help us to explore the distinctive features of Mongolian and the genetic differences with other ethnic groups, including the medical genetics and incidence of genetic diseases," stated Ye Yin, Director of Research and Cooperation Division at BGI.
"We are currently planning to sequence and analyze more Mongolian samples, aiming to build genetic database of Mongolian for supporting research of Mongolian in medicine, migration, evolution, among others," said Professor Zhou, "We are also seeking more participants and helpful advice for the project to promote the research findings for the benefit of humans," he added.
About Inner Mongolia Agricultural University (IMAU)
Inner Mongolia Agricultural University (IMAU) was established in 1952, with the first president appointed by Chairman Mao Zedong. Over the past 56 years, IMAU has initiated a multi-level management system. Its primary objective is focused on undergraduate studies. Nevertheless, IMAU has been paying profound attention to postgraduate, higher vocational and adult educational programs. IMAU is a multi-discipline university with 8 fields of study. They are Agronomy, Science, Engineering, Economics, Management, Social Sciences and Education. IMAU has succeeded in cultivating more than 70,000 skilled talents in diverse fields of study. For more information, please visit www.imau.edu.cn
About Inner Mongolia University for the Nationalities (IMUN)
Inner Mongolian University for the Nationalities is located in Tongliao, a city named "a pearl on Kerqin grassland" in the east of Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region. It was established in 2000 by merging Inner Mongolia teachers' College for the Nationalities, Inner Mongolia Mongolian Medical College and Zhelimu Animal Husbandry College, which were all founded in 1958. It is attached to the government of Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region. It is a comprehensive university with distinct local features and national characteristics. Now IMUN has 63 bachelor's degree programs and 7 specialties of vocational and technical education, which covers 10 areas: Law, Education, Arts, History, Science, Engineering, Agriculture, Medicine, Management and Economy. IMUN is making constant efforts to achieve the integrated, coordinated and sustainable development and become a member of the advanced universities of the Autonomous Region. For more information, please visit www.imun.edu.cn
BGI was founded in Beijing, China, in 1999 with the mission to become a premier scientific partner for the global research community. The goal of BGI is to make leading-edge genomic science highly accessible, which it achieves through its investment in infrastructure, leveraging the best available technology, economies of scale, and expert bioinformatics resources. BGI, and its affiliates, BGI Americas, headquartered in Cambridge, MA, and BGI Europe, headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, have established partnerships and collaborations with leading academic and government research institutions as well as global biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, supporting a variety of disease, agricultural, environmental, and related applications.
BGI has a proven track record of excellence, delivering results with high efficiency and accuracy for innovative, high-profile research: research that has generated over 170 publications in top-tier journals such as Nature and Science. BGI's many accomplishments include: sequencing one percent of the human genome for the International Human Genome Project, contributing 10 percent to the International Human HapMap Project, carrying out research to combat SARS and German deadly E. coli, playing a key role in the Sino-British Chicken Genome Project, and completing the sequence of the rice genome, the silkworm genome, the first Asian diploid genome, the potato genome, and, more recently, have sequenced the human Gut Metagenome, and a significant proportion of the genomes for the1000 Genomes Project. For more information about BGI, please visit www.bgiamericas.com or www.genomics.cn.
Huanmin Zhou, Ph.D.
Director of Science and Technology
Inner Mongolia Agricultural University
+86 471 4309386
Director of Human Genetics & Medical Genetics Research Institute
Inner Mongolia University for the Nationalities
Joyce Peng, Ph.D.
BGI Americas Corporation
Bicheng Yang, Ph.D.
Public Communication Officer