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


Harnessing WGS for Forensic Analysis: Bioinformatics Pipelines and Data.
M. COUGER (1), J. Fletcher (2), W. Schneider (3) (1) Oklahoma State University, U.S.A.; (2) Oklahoma State University, U.S.A.; (3) USDA ARS, U.S.A.

The security and health of agriculture resources including crop production as well national forest and other plants that metabolize increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere is critical for both the world’s food production and environmental conservation. These invaluable resources are under threat from infection by natural established pathogens and emerging infectious agents. To preserve these critical resources and protect them from threats, rapid detection of pathogens, precise serotype identification, and extensive laboratory research aimed at identifying pathogenesis mechanisms and to develop containment/treatment protocols are necessary. Here we discuss emerging developments in the areas of bioinformatics analysis and synthetic biology which aid in the implementation of these goals. These include improvements in assembly algorithms, metagenomic assembly and gene calling software, and genomic wide phylogenetic classification. Synthetic biology developments include the use of CRISPR/Argonaute enzyme systems for targeted sequence specific genomic engineering for study of select agents, gene drive systems allowing cross population genomic modification and engineered heritability in laboratory and wild type microorganisms, de novo synthesis of genomes, and the possibility of use of synthetic amino acids/codon alterations to increase biocontainment of laboratory use of select agents and reduce BSL classification for laboratory strains understudy.