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Oral: Novel Applications of Whole Genome Sequencing and Bioinformatics in Microbial Forensics and Agricultural Biosecurity


Genomics-based Bioforensic Analysis at the National Bioforensic Analysis Center
N. BERGMAN (1) (1) National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center, U.S.A.

The identification and characterization of emerging, engineered, or even synthetic biological agents is extremely challenging, and requires an analytical process that is flexible, agent-agnostic, and capable of high resolution. Here we present a genomics-based approach to bioforensic analysis that allows for isolate-level identification of any biological agent, characterization of any sample regardless of complexity, and inferential analysis of DNA sequences to assess both phylogeny and function. This approach includes sample extraction and next-generation sequencing at BSL-2, BSL-3, and BSL-4 as well as bioinformatic analysis using a suite of custom tools and pipelines designed for bioforensics. Several example analyses will be discussed to demonstrate how genomics is applied to different types of bioforensic problems, and to highlight its value in high resolution genotyping, metagenomic analysis, viral discovery, and other applications.