Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) and GT Life Sciences Announce Complete Sequencing of CHO Genome

Published: Jan 06, 2011

SAN DIEGO and SHENZHEN, China, Jan. 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- GT Life Sciences, Inc., a privately held biotechnology company that utilizes a proven metabolic modeling and experimental platform to drive the discovery and design of new products and processes for the life sciences field, and BGI (previously known as the Beijing Genomics Institute), the largest genomics organization in the world, announced that they have successfully completed for the first time the sequencing of the Chinese hamster ovary (CHO-K1) genome. Early access to the genome is now available.

Chinese hamster ovary cell lines, or CHO cell lines, are mammalian cells that have been derived from the ovary of the Chinese hamster and are used widely today in biological research and in the production of therapeutic proteins. Today at least 70% of all therapeutic proteins are produced in CHO cells. Currently the worldwide market for therapeutic proteins totals approximately $100 billion. The sequencing of the CHO genome will yield a wealth of new information and understanding of CHO cell functions, accelerating the discovery and development of new recombinant protein therapeutics. By increasing the productivity of CHO cell lines used in many pharmaceutical expression systems, production costs can be reduced.

"Sequencing the CHO genome represents a major milestone in optimizing this widely used mammalian cell line both for pharmaceutical research and for production of therapeutic proteins," stated Bernhard Palsson, Ph.D., Galetti Professor of Bioengineering and Adjunct Professor Medicine at the University of California, San Diego. "This newly available knowledge will bring multiple benefits, including media optimization and improved cell growth, protein production, glycosylation, and cell line engineering. Ultimately, it brings genome-scale science to CHO-based production of biopharmaceuticals."

GT Life Sciences' established CHOmics business platform for metabolic modeling and engineering of mammalian cells has already proven effective in optimizing CHO cell media and developing novel selectable markers. "The availability of the sequence together with a complete genome-scale model of CHO metabolism is proving to be a powerful tool that will allow us to deliver the next generation of process technologies for biopharmaceutical production in CHO and other mammalian cell lines," added Iman Famili, Ph.D., Sr. Director, Research and Development at GT Life Sciences.

"The complete sequencing of CHO-K1 genome is a major step forward in the application of genomics in the production of biopharmaceuticals," stated Dr. Jun Wang, Executive Director of BGI. "GT's CHOmics platform provides a valuable foundation for CHO genomics research and the study of CHO cell metabolism. BGI's sequencing and bioinformatics capabilities, combined with GT's CHOmics platform, will contribute to the transformation of biopharmaceutical production."

"Given the variation in the genomes of CHO cell lines cultivated from multiple origins," added Xun Xu, Project Investigator of CHO genome in BGI, "individual de novo assembly and sequencing of different CHO cell lines is needed to fully understand their genetic makeup for both academic and industrial research purposes."

BGI and GT will work closely on the next stage of data analysis and interpretation of genetic regulation in cell proliferation. Both parties intend to work together in future sequencing and analysis on different CHO cell lines for various therapeutic purposes.

For information on early access to the CHO whole genome sequence data prior to publication, please contact Dawen Xu (

About BGI

BGI (formerly known as Beijing Genomics Institute) was founded in Beijing in 1999 with the mission of supporting the development of science and technology, building strong research teams, and promoting the application of genomics in a variety of disease, agricultural, environmental and related fields. BGI has successfully completed a large number of projects. These include sequencing 1% of the human genome for the International Human Genome Project, contributing 10% to the International Human HapMap Project, carrying out research to combat SARS, being a key player in the Sino-British Chicken Genome Project, and completely sequencing the rice genome and the silkworm genome. In 2007, the headquarters relocated to Shenzhen. BGI-Shenzhen has completed the first Asian diploid genome, the cucumber genome project and the Panda genome project. Much of its research has been published in top international academic journals including Nature and Science. In conjunction with carrying out these projects, BGI-Shenzhen has established its own technical platforms based on large-scale genome sequencing, efficient bioinformatics analyses, and innovative genetic healthcare initiatives. These distinguished achievements have made a great contribution to the development of genomics in both China and the world. For more information, visit

About GT Life Sciences, Inc.

GT Life Sciences (GT) is a privately held biotechnology company that utilizes a proven metabolic modeling and experimental platform to drive the discovery and design of new products and processes for the life sciences field. GT is a world leader in cellular metabolism, biochemical reactions, enzymatic transformations, networks and systems that control processes in cells. GT's platform is being applied to accelerate biological research, discovery and product development for both GT and its partners in a number of commercial opportunity areas in which cellular metabolism plays an important role. For more information, visit

SOURCE GT Life Sciences, Inc.

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