Organization: Battelle
Year: 2018

ThreatSEQ was designed to serve the needs of the emerging biotechnology industry as an efficient tool to reduce the potential for unintended production of DNA sequences of concern. Although tremendously beneficial, biotechnology has raised the potential threat of tailoring microbial pathogenesis through targeted insertion, deletion, or transfer of genes that contribute to disease. Moreover, the de novo synthesis of lifeforms is now within technological reach. Key to enabling these efforts, the custom DNA synthesis industry generates and distributes DNA raw materials throughout the world, with limited tools available for oversight of threat potential. ThreatSEQ detects and classifies sequences of concern in genomic data. The foundation of the platform is four databases, including a proprietary highly-curated sequence of concern database. These databases are coupled to an aligner, and all alignment results are processed for hits to databases consistent with current Department of Health and Human Services guidelines. The hit profiles across the databases are subsequently processed for a threat ranking that is displayed to the end user through a graphical user interface.

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