U. Maryland hooks up with OpGen on microbial database

DNA sequencing technology is aiding in the exploration of all the various microbes--good and bad--that play roles in human health. Now genomics researchers at the University of Maryland and Gaithersburg, MD-based DNA analysis firm OpGen are working together on a database with detailed information on microbial sequences.

The university's Institute of Genome Sciences (IGS) is providing samples of microbes and sequencing data, which will pull from the NIH's Human Microbiome Project (HMP) and the NIH's Genomic Sequencing Center for Infectious Diseases. For its part, OpGen will provide optical maps of the genomic structures of the microbes and other services to help researchers better characterize the bugs.

Clinical researchers are beginning to catch on that the flora of microbes in our bodies might have larger impacts on disease progression and immune reactions than was once thought. And while the MicrobesOnline.org database has been compiling microbial sequence data for years, this new effort at the University of Maryland to relate microbial sequence data to human health appears to build on those previous efforts.

"Inclusion of optical mapping for the characterization of genomes will raise the standard of high quality genome sequence data and will be of extraordinary value given the unprecedented amount of next generation sequencing of clinically relevant organisms," said Clair Frasier-Liggett, IGS's director, in a release. "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."

- here's the OpGen release

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