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Medical News and Perspectives
August 8, 2012

Database of Food-Borne Pathogen Genomes Created

JAMA. 2012;308(6):557. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.9550

A new free public database of the genomes of 100 000 foodborne pathogens will help speed investigations of food-borne illnesses, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA has partnered with the University of California–Davis, the biotechnology firm Agilent Technologies, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to launch this new resource.

Genetic analysis has become a key tool for helping scientists trace the cause of food-borne illnesses, which result in about 128 000 hospitalizations and 3000 deaths in the United States each year. According to the FDA, the goal of the 5-year 100K Genome Project is to improve the safety of the food supply by allowing faster testing for pathogens in raw ingredients, finished products, and environmental samples collected during outbreaks of food-borne illness.