IARPA looks to hand-held genetic testing

DNA strand 

WHAT: The intelligence community's development arm announced an effort to accelerate the development of next-generation gene sequencing technology, with an eye to building mobile devices that can quickly identify diseases or human genetic signatures in the field or in the lab.

WHY: The new Rapid Detection Nucleic Acid Signatures (RaDNAS) request for information from the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity asks industry for information about nanopore sequencing capabilities --  a quick, relatively low-cost, highly mobile method for testing and processing of samples -- that can potentially allow test results to be displayed in real time.

The nanopore process uses tiny membranes and tiny electrical charges to separate molecules and has been used to rapidly identify and monitor diseases like Ebola. The technique has also been used to identify environmental hazards and food safety issues as well as in human genome sequencing and other applications.

IARPA is particularly interested in the nanopore process because of its potential for use in hand-held devices in the field. Other next-generation sequencing technologies and techniques are not as portable, according to the contacting notice.

Responses to the RFI are due Sept. 22. Read the full solicitation here.

In July IARPA issued an RFI asking about genetic identification technology that could be used to detect human engineered changes to natural biological systems.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Aug 14, 2017 at 6:40 AM


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