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Dr. Jun Wang, BGI Director

BGI

For making DNA sequencing mass-market.

By investing in more cutting-edge genome-sequencing hardware and training more analysts to make sense of reams of data output than any research institution or university in the world, BGI has turned itself into a go-to destination for global scientists seeking collaboration on ambitious projects to unlock the mysteries of plant, animal, and human DNA. The Shenzhen, China–based institute (it was founded in Beijing) is now the most prolific sequencer of human genomes, using technological advances to drive steep drops in the cost of sequencing complete genomes, from $3 billion in 2003 to mere thousands today. Its goal is to organize the world's biological information and make it useful and accessible to all—like a biological Google. Under its director, Dr. Jun Wang, its projects are wide-ranging, from decoding rice genomes for improving agriculture to parsing the biological roots of human intelligence. In March 2013, BGI turned its attention to the West, acquiring California-based Complete Genomics, a leading developer and manufacturer of genome-sequencing machines, for $118 million, giving it even more firepower.