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Whole Genome Sequencing of foodborne pathogens


The FDA?s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) has created the firstintegrated network of state and federal laboratories (GenomeTrakr) to use whole genomesequencing to track foodborne pathogens to improve outbreak response and effectivemonitoring of preventative controls. The GenomeTrakr network has created a publicallyavailable, global database containing the genetic makeup of thousands of foodborne diseasecausing organisms. This project is intended to develop a stronger international rapidsurveillance system for pathogen trace-back by further enhancing the GenomeTrakr networkand the growing database. The accurate and timely subtyping and subsequent clustering ofisolates of a bacterium associated with a foodborne outbreak event is essential for successfulinvestigation and eventual trackback to a specific food or environmental source. The genomicinformation provided by the GenomeTrakr network points investigators to specific food productspotentially related to an outbreak, and provides insight into the origin of the contaminated food.This project will promote public health and state agricultural laboratories sequence pathogenicfoodborne bacterium to be added to the on-line database. The local laboratories will be requiredto sequence a minimum of 250 food, environmental or animal isolates to be added to thedatabase to identify future outbreaks. The local laboratories will also be required to participate inGenomeTrakr in a standard process requiring consistency of the sequencing and analysis whilealso participating in meetings, conferences and proficiency tests to ensure standardizationbetween laboratories.

Boxrud, Dave
Tennessee State Department of Health
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