Project to create food pathogen genome database

by Staff
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WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration, the University of California Davis, Agilent Technologies, Inc. and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are teaming up to create “The 100K Genome Project,” a public database of 100,000 foodborne pathogen genomes to be offered for free with the goal of helping speed the identification of bacteria that causes foodborne outbreaks.

“This important project will harness the cutting-edge technology of genome sequencing to advance our understanding of and response to foodborne outbreaks,” said Margaret A Hamburg, F.D.A. commissioner. “F.D.A. is pleased to contribute scientific and technical expertise necessary to create and maintain this foodborne pathogen database, which will be fully accessible and have a long-lasting impact on protecting public health.”

The F.D.A. said the database will provide a roadmap for the development of tests to identify pathogens and provide information about the origin of the pathogen. These tests have the ability to reduce the typical public health response time, and open access to the database will allow researchers to develop tests that can identify the type of bacteria present in a sample in a matter of days or hours instead of the week it currently takes between diagnosis and genetic analysis.

The F.D.A. will provide more than 500 completed Salmonella whole-genome draft sequences, additional food pathogen strains for sequencing and bioinformatic support. Agilent will provide scientific expertise, instrumentation and funding. The C.D.C. will provide foodborne disease expertise, strains to be sequences and other information, and genomic sequencing will be coordinated by U.C. Davis.

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