We’ve just finished our official crowd-funding video with an all-star cast and with backing music – oh yes. Filmed on location at BGI in Tai Po Industrial Estate and at Chinese University Hong Kong it not only displays one of our local Bauhinia blakeana (on the roadside outside BGI) but you can also see the large array of genome sequencers at BGI Hong Kong and some of the supercomputing power at CUHK (the black cabinets over Stephen Tsui’s shoulders).
The main drive behind the project is to help train the next generation of bioscientists in Hong Kong while also raising awareness of genomics technology generally and letting people know about the hi-tech industry that’s happening amongst the soy-sauce factories in the New Territories. Starting with students at CUHK who will help to piece the genomes together, we’ll also be hoping to take this science into the classrooms of Hong Kong schools, holding public lectures and organising #BauhiniaWatch events all over Hong Kong.
It’s really important that we study the Bauhinia because as a sterile hybrid, every one of the thousands and thousands of these trees in the world is a clone of the original (spread by cuttings and grafting). This means it’s really prone to being wiped out by infection – if one tree gets sick, they can all get sick! Such an emblematic and beautiful tree needs to be protected and genomic technology provides a way to do that.