Produce Marketing Association: Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) is being used in research, surveillance and investigative programs more and more frequently by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) [and in A-NZ]. The FDA and CDC are coordinating efforts by public health officials to sequence pathogens collected from foodborne illness outbreaks. These sequences are archived in an open-access genomic reference database called GenomeTrackr. This database, when linked to the metadata (e.g., previous foods where the pathogen was isolated, geographic locations where the previous outbreaks originated, time of year when the outbreak occurred, previous sources of contamination, symptoms of ill individuals, etc.) associated with these sequences, can be used to assist public health professionals in linking ongoing outbreaks of illness with historical outbreaks. This means learnings from the historical illness outbreaks can be now be used to guide their investigations into the cause of the current outbreak.

Read the full article at the Produce Marketing Association website