Goal is to develop reference organism templates for resequencing efforts.

The University of Maryland Institute for Genome Sciences (IGS) and OpGen say that they will work together to develop a database of high-quality, finished, annotated microbial sequences. OpGen, a whole-genome DNA analysis company, will provide optical maps and sequence finishing technology.

The company’s Argus™ Optical Mapping System and MapIt® Services provide high-resolution, whole-genome restriction maps for sequence assembly and finishing, strain typing, as well as comparative genomics. The technology does not use gel-based, PCR-based, or sequencing-based methodology.

“We are using this technology for validation of our de novo sequencing projects and anticipate that these will serve as an extraordinary set of reference organism templates to be used by the large number of resequencing efforts worldwide,” says Claire Frasier-Liggett, Ph.D., director of IGS and professor of medicine, microbiology, and immunology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

IGS will provide clinically characterized microbial samples and sequencing data from microbial genomics studies including from NIH’s Human Microbiome Project (HMP) and from research by the NIAID Genomic Sequencing Center for Infectious Diseases (GSCID) on campus.

Last year IGS secured a five-year contract from NIAID to establish a genome sequencing center. It will be one of three such centers nationwide; the others are at the J. Craig Venter Institute and The Broad Institute.

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