The 100k Genome Project: Tracking Forborne Illness to its Source

The 100k Genome Project: Tracking Forborne Illness to its Source

One in six Americans is sickened by foodborne illness each year. To help find the source of an outbreak to prevent further contamination and illness, the 100K Genome Project, developed through an innovative partnership among government, business and academia, is sequencing the genetic codes (genomes) of 100,000 strains of important food pathogens and making them available in a free and public database.

One in six Americans is sickened by foodborne illness each year, leading to an estimated 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. Many food outbreak events are never linked definitively to a food source or agent. However, quickly pinning down the source of an outbreak is essential for connecting a food facility or farm responsible for contamination and preventing further illness.

To this end, “The 100K Genome Project”, born out of collaboration between Food and Drug Administration (FDA), University of California-Davis, and Agilent Technologies and growing quickly, is sequencing the genetic codes (genomes) of 100,000 strains of important food pathogens, such as Salmonella, and making them available in a free and public database at NIH’s National Center for Biotechnology Information.

This endeavor will increase, by nearly 100-fold, the number of food pathogen genomes available in the public domain, fostering development of tests that will identify a bacterium at a much faster rate than current methods permit. The database also promotes a safe food supply for all Americans by providing a developmental roadmap for strategies to trace invading food pathogens back to their source and by serving as a valuable model for how public-private partnerships may overcome otherwise intractable challenges to public health.

TEAM MEMBERS
Marc Allard, Food and Drug Administration
Eric Brown, Food and Drug Administration
David Lipman, National Institutes of Health
Steven Musser, Food and Drug Administration
Steve Royce, Agilent Technologies
Bart Weimer, University of California Davis
Paul Zavitsanos, Agilent Technologies

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