International Potato Center Announces Partnership with Novogene Bioinformatics Technology to Advance Global Potato Genomics

July 28, 2015, Lima, Peru and Beijing, China – The International Potato Center (CIP), a global agricultural research and development organization, member of the CGIAR Consortium, and custodian of the world’s largest potato gene bank, is partnering with Novogene Bioinformatics Technology Co., Ltd., a leading genomics solution provider with the largest Illumina-based sequencing capacity in China, to advance potato genome research. Announced at the 9th World Potato Congress being held July 28 – 30 in Beijing, China, the partnership aims to facilitate production of improved varieties that will meet future challenges such as increased yield, disease resistance and drought tolerance in response to global population growth and the effects of climate change on crops.

Under the partnership, Novogene will sequence the genomes of samples provided by CIP from nine different taxa of cultivated potato and one closely related wild species. Novogene’s scientists will then apply their cutting edge bioinformatics technologies and expertise to assemble the millions of sequences and align them to the publically available reference potato genome.

“Our partnership with Novogene has the potential to significantly advance potato genomics and benefit current and future research to improve potato cultivation,” said Dr. Barbara H. Wells, Director General of CIP and a keynote speaker at the World Potato Congress. “At its core, it will enable the sequencing of ten new potato genomes, while currently only two are known. Five years ago, even attempting such a project would not have been feasible. While still no trivial task, the combined knowledge of CIP plant scientists and Novogene scientists along with advances in technology now makes this type of discovery a possibility.”

Dr. David Ellis, Director of CIP’s Genebank, stated, “The work being undertaken represents a large first step to enable us to start to understand the complex genomes of potato. Novogene brings great technological know-how to this project that will help us to unravel hidden genetic treasures in the potato genome and the CIP Genebank. Uncovering and unraveling these treasures – including the possibility of identifying genes that are responsible for important traits such as disease resistance, insect resistance, drought, frost and salinity tolerance, early tuber formation, enhanced yield and more – all becomes possible via the use of genomics technology.

“We are already seeing this come to light in other crops,” added Dr. Ellis. “It is now possible with potato.”

“We welcome this opportunity to partner with the International Potato Center to advance this important genomic research,” stated Dr. Ruiqiang Li, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Novogene. “By applying our sequencing and bioinformatics expertise to CIP’s extensive gene bank, we hope to have a positive impact on future global crop production.”

About Novogene

Novogene, headquartered in Beijing with branches in Hong Kong, the U.S. and U.K., is a leading genomics solution provider with cutting edge bioinformatics expertise and the largest Illumina-based sequencing capacity in China. Committed to quality service and scientific excellence, Novogene has achieved rapid growth and industry recognition by working in partnership with diverse healthcare, educational and research institutions around the globe to realize the unlimited potential of the rapidly evolving world of genomics. The company has completed numerous major service projects with findings published by top-ranked journals such as Science and Nature series. Novogene is the first company in China to purchase Illumina’s HiSeq X Ten System and is the only Illumina Genome Network partner in China.


About CIP

CIP, headquartered in Lima, Peru, was founded in 1971 as a root and tuber research-for-development institution delivering sustainable solutions to the pressing world problems of hunger, poverty, malnutrition and the degradation of natural resources.  CIP houses the global in-trust potato, sweet potato and Andean Root and Tuber Crops collections and contains the world’s largest collection of potato diversity.  CIP has regional offices in Peru, Ecuador, Kenya, India and China   and is active globally with projects in 30 developing countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

CIP is part of the CGIAR Consortium, a global partnership that unites organizations engaged in research for a food secure future. CGIAR research is dedicated to reducing rural poverty, increasing food security, improving human health and nutrition, and ensuring more sustainable management of natural resources. Donors include individual countries, major foundations, and international entities.

This project was made possible with the financial support of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany.



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