The ceremony marking the launch of the 1K Herb Genomes Project was held at Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (CDUCM) on 2 July. The event also saw the establishment of a research consortium under the project, led by Professor Chen Shilin of CDUCM, and initiated by, among others, Professor Lyu Aiping, Dean of Chinese Medicine of Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU). Combining the strengths of more than 60 research teams from across the country together, the consortium will make use of the most advanced technologies such as DNA sequencing to sustain and propel the inheritance and development of traditional medicine. Professor Chen is currently Honorary Professor of the School of Chinese Medicine at HKBU and the latest recipient of the Cheung On Tak International Award for Outstanding Contribution to Chinese Medicine.
The 1K Herb Genomes Project will research into over 1000 medicinal plants covered in the pharmacopoeias of China, India, the EU, the US, Japan, Korea, Brazil and others. It aims to provide scientific support for the selection and cultivation of new varieties, synthetic biology, as well as in situ and ex situ conservation of endangered species of medicinal plants; promote the application of technologies at the frontier of life science in the studies of medicinal plants and Chinese medicines; and expedite the leapfrog development of research on medicinal plants and Chinese medicines.