IARPA gathering information on feasibility of using genomic databases

Metagenomics The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), which operates under the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), issued a Request For Information (RFI) on May 30 that seeks information from companies that could examine the feasibility of using existing genomic databases to determine the “geographic provenance” of a metagenomic sample.

“Metagenomics is the study of a community of organisms’ genetic material recovered from environmental samples,” explains the special notice published by IARPA. “We hypothesize that by correlating the genetic information within a metagenomic sample with information about species co-occurrence and range it may be possible to ascertain where, and perhaps when, a sample was collected.”

The RFI seeks responses from interested parties by July 14.

“The purpose of this RFI is to learn more about the content and accuracy of the various relevant databases and their metadata, and to explore whether and how the community believes these databases could be used individually or together to determine the geospecificity of a metagenomic sample to a given degree of accuracy,” the special notice adds.

Further information is available from Susan Alexander, of IARPA, at dni-iarpa-RFI-14-07@iarpa.gov