Navigation Links
Open-source software designed to minimize synthetic biology risks
Date:3/21/2011

A software package designed to minimize the potential risks of synthetic biology for the nation's defense and security is now available to the gene synthesis industry and synthetic biology community in an open-source format.

Virginia Tech has licensed GenoTHREAT, a software tool that helps detect the use of synthetic DNA as bioterrorism agents. Developed as an open-source project by a team led by Jean Peccoud, associate professor at Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech, it is being released using the Apache License Version 2.0 to ensure broad accessibility.

GenoTHREAT implements the "best match" screening protocol method recommended by the federal government to minimize the risk that unauthorized individuals or those with malicious intent will obtain toxins and other potentially dangerous materials from DNA synthesis providers. The process of developing GenoTHREAT allowed Peccoud's team to conduct a rigorous bioinformatic analysis of the strengths and limitations of the best match method which was published in the March issue of Nature Biotechnology <http://www.nature.com/nbt/journal/v29/n3/full/nbt.1802.html>.

"It was natural to start developing GenoTHREAT around the federal guidance on synthetic DNA," said Peccoud. "Since this regulation is only one of many regulations and policies that providers of synthetic DNA need to comply with, our current efforts aim at developing a more comprehensive biosecurity solution that can be customized for a variety of users."

Five of the report's co-authors Arunima Srivastava of Delhi, India, a sophomore majoring in computer science in the College of Science; Michael Kozar of Harwich, Mass., a junior majoring in biology in the College of Science and French in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences; Tyler Stewart of Springfield, Va., a junior majoring in biological sciences in the College of Science and biochemistry in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; and Gaelle Letort and Olivier Mirat, visiting students from ENSIMAG, an engineering school in Grenoble, France are undergraduate students who worked with Peccoud and were part of a team of undergraduate students enrolled in the 2010 International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) competition. The other two authors are Laura Adam, graduate research assistant, and Mandy Wilson, database administrator with Peccoud's group

"This project exemplifies how it is possible to train students to use interdisciplinary strategies to confront today's most important scientific problems," said Virginia Tech Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education Daniel Wubah. "By breaking down the separation of basic and applied research, and by combining engineering and life science expertise, this team has made a valuable contribution to a real-world problem directly related to the security of our nation."

Since the first synthetic cell in May 2010, the security and ethical aspects of synthetic biology have been debated in congressional hearings and by the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues and the National Academy of Science, among others.

"While the U.S. government does not endorse any particular tools, as stated in the Guidance, the U.S. government is supportive of efforts to develop new and improved methods to screen double-stranded DNA sequences for biosecurity purposes," explained Capt. Theresa Lawrence of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "We applaud efforts to advance this important field of science and enhance security."


'/>"/>

Contact: Susan Trulove
strulove@vt.edu
540-231-5646
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. NSF grant to launch worlds first open-source genetic parts production facility
2. New open-source software permits faster desktop computer simulations of molecular motion
3. SoftGenetics to Supply Forensic Analysis Software for IntegenXs Automated DNA Identity Profiling System
4. New software quantifies leaf venation networks, enables plant biology advances
5. High-tech software, umanned planes allow scientists to keep tabs on Arctic seals
6. New software eases analysis of insect in motion
7. Aware to Introduce Several New Software Products at the Biometrics Consortium Conference
8. SailPoint Signs International Reseller Agreement with BMC Software
9. Systems biology software package developed at VBI is now open source for all users
10. Aware Biometrics Software Provided for Large Federal Agencys PIV Credentialing System
11. IEEE-USA pleased that Supreme Courts ruling preserves software patents
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/5/2017)... April 5, 2017  The Allen Institute for Cell ... Explorer: a one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic digital window into ... data, the first application of deep learning to create ... cell lines and a growing suite of powerful tools. ... these and future publicly available resources created and shared ...
(Date:4/3/2017)... WASHINGTON , April 3, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ... single-cell precision engineering platform, detected a statistically ... cell product prior to treatment and objective ... highlight the potential to predict whether cancer ... prior to treatment, as well as to ...
(Date:3/29/2017)...  higi, the health IT company that operates the ... , today announced a Series B investment from ... The new investment and acquisition accelerates higi,s strategy to ... population health activities through the collection and workflow integration ... collects and secures data today on behalf of over ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... , ... The first human cell line HeLa, established in 1951, has entered ... of human cell lines with HeLa cells were published. Until recently, cross-contamination and misidentification ... is associated with dramatic consequences for research. , In this educational webinar, which ...
(Date:6/20/2017)... Iowa (PRWEB) , ... June 20, 2017 , ... ... chance to immediately determine the adulterants which pose the most likely threat to ... - 28 of this year. , IFT's annual food expo attracts over ...
(Date:6/19/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... June 19, 2017 , ... ... overseeing all service activities supporting EDETEK’s products including training, implementation, support, and client ... to his new role. He has previously held leadership roles for service providers ...
(Date:6/16/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... June 16, 2017 , ... ... management and analytics solutions, today announced that its Anzo Smart Data Lake® ... Semantic Technology Solution’ category for the 2017 Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) ...
Breaking Biology Technology: