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MGI Workshop Presents Single Cell RNA Sequencing Technology to Facilitate Human Cell Atlas and Computational Biology Projects


TOKYO, May 25, 2019 MGI, a subsidiary of global genomics leader BGI Group, attended the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) Workshop on Single Cell Biology in Tokyo, and hosted a luncheon session on May 21st, 2019. Dr. Sarah Teichmann from the Wellcome Sanger Institute presented her work on single cell sequencing, and Dr. Kedar Natarajan shared his experience on MGI sequencing platforms.

Dr. Teichmann shared her systematic evaluation workflow for different protocols, platforms and technologies for single-cell RNA sequencing. She emphasized the importance of coverage, sensitivity and specificity. She also introduced the Human Cell Atlas (HCA) project and encouraged many kinds of related collaborations. Her postdoc, Dr. Kedar Natarajan, now working as an assistant professor in University of Southern Denmark, showed comparative analyses of SMART-Seq, STRT-Seq, and MARS-Seq data sequenced on Illumina and MGI sequencing platforms. He showed that data generated from BGISEQ-500 are highly consistent with that from Hiseq2500 and HiSeq4000, which means both platforms could be confidently used in HCA projects for all researchers. Considering the comparable performance but the lower cost, MGI platforms would greatly facilitate HCA projects, helping the world-leading collaborative community to create a comprehensive reference map of all human cells.

In the session on computational biology during this workshop, Dr. Longqi Liu, the executive director of the Institute of Supercells in BGI-Research, systematically introduced the applications of the MGISEQ platform in single cell researches, including studies on tumor and developmental biology. He pointed out that the MGISEQ utilizes the rolling circle amplification (RCA) -based DNA nanoball approach, which can greatly improve the mapping rate, leading to a higher SNP calling accuracy from single-cell RNA-seq data compared to other sequencing platforms. In addition, DNA RCA technology also avoids the problem of index switching, which is currently inevitable on other sequencing platforms. This feature has great advantages in the single-cell sequencing because the index or barcode is used to distinguish different single cells, and MGISEQ can significantly improve the accuracy of single-cell data. Moreover, Dr. Liu also showed that the combination of DNA nanoball and long fragment read (LFR) technologies can achieve high-throughput full-length transcriptome, which has never been achieved on other NGS platforms.

Alongside the technology development of single cell biology, such as library preparation, barcoding strategy, algorithms and database, MGI will continue to drive innovations to provide solutions with higher accuracy and sensitivity, and lower cost, and to embrace collaboration with more HCA partners.

About MGI

MGI Tech Co., Ltd. (MGI), a subsidiary of BGI Group, is committed to enabling effective and affordable healthcare solutions for all. Based on its proprietary technology, MGI produces sequencing devices, equipment, consumables and reagents to support life science research, medicine and healthcare. MGI’s multi-omics platforms include genetic sequencing, mass spectrometry and medical imaging. Providing real-time, comprehensive, life-long solutions, its mission is to develop and promote advanced life science tools for future healthcare. Learn more at


The Human Cell Atlas Project brings together an international community of biologists, clinicians, technologists, physicists, computational scientists, software engineers, and mathematicians. This community of scientists with diverse expertise share the common goal of creating a comprehensive reference map of all human cells —the fundamental units of life—as a basis for understanding human health and diagnosing, monitoring, and treating disease. Learn more at

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