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genome sequencing

FDA Applies Genome Sequencing in Outbreak Investigation

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently put whole genome sequencing technology — which maps the entire DNA sequences of microbes to distinguish one strain from another — to use in its investigation into a Listeria outbreak linked to Roos Foods. Earlier this year, one person died and seven others were sickened after eating cheese… Continue Reading

Emerging Pathogens: Is E. Coli O104:H4 the Next Strain to Watch?

In May 2011, a virtually unknown strain of E. coli, known as O104:H4, made worldwide headlines when an outbreak in Germany sickened approximately 4,000 people and killed 50, including one American. This event, linked to fresh sprouts, quickly became the deadliest foodborne illness outbreak in history. In the days following the first reports of illness,… Continue Reading

UC Davis Begins Sequencing for 100K Pathogen Genome Project

The 100K Pathogen Genome Project at the University of California, Davis–which was launched in 2012 as a collaborative project with Agilent Technologies and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration–announced this week it has sequenced the genomes of its first 10 infectious microorganisms, including strains of Salmonella and Listeria. The project, which has been joined by… Continue Reading

FDA Spends $17 Million to Go After Pathogens Faster

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is spending $17 million on technology it hopes will be fast enough to catch fresh produce with pathogen contamination. FDA has awarded a five-year contract to Illumina Inc, a San Diego-based technology company involved in accelerating genetic research. Illumina will provide FDA with its MiSeq sequencing systems and… Continue Reading

Genome Sequencing of 100,000 Foodborne Pathogens Underway

New database will speed up outbreak investigations

Over the past three years, scientists at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have conducted whole genome sequencing on over hundreds of foodborne pathogens to get a detailed map of their DNA. Now, with the help of university researchers and a private company, they’re expanding that figure to 100,000. The initiative, aptly titled “The 100K… Continue Reading

O104:H4 Genome Sequencing Used to Kill the Bug

The deadly pathogen known as E. coli O104:H4, which devastated northern Europe last year, can itself be killed, San Francisco-based AvidBiotics Corporation announced Wednesday. Dean Scholl, who leads a team of scientists from AvidBiotics and the U.S. Department of Agriculture,  said the group has created a highly targeted bactericidal protein to kill the life-threatening foodborne… Continue Reading

Clues to Deadly EU ‘Sproutbreak’ in New Genome Study

In one of the first uses of genome sequencing to trace the path of a foodborne illness outbreak, a team led by scientists from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and the Broad Institute looked at the E. coli O104:H4 epidemic that hit Europe last year. Their study was published this week in Proceedings of… Continue Reading

Beyond PFGE: Genomic Mapping Pinpoints Pathogens

A team of researchers led by food scientists at Cornell University has developed a new, highly accurate approach to identifying bacteria responsible for foodborne illnesses. According to the team, it should allow scientists to identify the culprits of illness outbreaks with unmatched accuracy and eventually replace the current method of pathogen identification. Outlined by the… Continue Reading