DTRA to fund next generation sequencing project

The U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency recently issued a request for information to find organizations capable of amplifying, sequencing and assembling sequence data for biothreat agents.

The DTRA, which operates under the U.S. Department of Defense, announced that its next generation sequencing efforts are aimed at finding sources that can characterize a large number of samples on a yearly basis with minimal government investment in instruments, according to GlobalBioDefense.com.

The agency expects to use the collected data to aid in the development of new assays and diagnostics. DTRA hopes to fund sequencing efforts for hundreds of thousands of pathogens every year.

The information collected in response to the RFI will help DTRA formulate a strategic plan for future investments in NGS and genomics.

Respondents to the RFI were asked to demonstrate the ability to culture and propagate select agents and toxins, as well as have the proper permits to receive select agents and work with them in Biosafety Level 4 facilities. They must also be able to assemble bacterial genomes into "finish" status, including species with genomic structures that generally impede the assembly process, GlobalBioDefense.com reports.

The RFI was issued by the agency's Diagnostics, Detection and Disease Surveillance Division, Chemical and Biological Technologies Department.

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