Under the contract, TIGR will sequence dozens of genomes per year. Among the organisms to be considered for sequencing will be pathogenic microorganisms and invertebrate vectors of infectious diseases. "We look forward to working in partnership with NIAID to help meet the needs of the infectious disease research community for genomic data and analysis," said TIGR President Claire M. Fraser, Ph.D.
TIGR's affiliated sequencing facility, the J. Craig Venter Science Foundation Joint Technology Center, also located in Rockville, MD, will conduct the sequencing under the contract, with TIGR investigators leading each genome project and coordinating the analysis. The Joint Technology Center, which began operations this summer, is one of the world's largest and most technologically advanced sequencing centers.
TIGR, a not-for-profit research institute, sequenced the first genome of a free-living organism in 1995. Since then, TIGR has sequenced the genomes of more than 50 other organisms or microbial strains, including the genomes of microbes that cause pneumonia, cholera, syphilis, anthrax, malaria, meningitis, Lyme disease, and gingivitis.
Fraser said the sequencing accomplished under the NIAID contract will provide invaluable data to the international community of scientists who study the microorganisms that cause infectious diseases and seek to develop more effective treatments and vaccines. Whole-genome analyses of several pathogens have led to vaccine and antimicrobial drug development projects.