IARPA posts BAA for Functional Genomic and Computational Assessment of Threats (Fun GCAT) program
On September 22, the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) released the broad agency announcement for the Functional Genomic and Computational Assessment of Threats (Fun GCAT) program (Solicitation Number: IARPA-BAA-16-08). Responses are due by 5:00pm Eastern on November 8.
This BAA (IARPA-BAA-16-08) is for the Fun GCAT Program. IARPA is seeking innovative solutions for the Fun GCAT Program in this BAA. The Fun GCAT Program is envisioned to begin in April 2017 and end by October 2020.
The Functional Genomic and Computational Assessment of Threats (Fun GCAT) program intends to develop new approaches and tools for the screening of nucleic acid sequences, and for the functional annotation and characterization of genes of concern, with the goal of preventing the accidental or intentional creation of a biological threat.
Advances in biotechnology and synthetic biology over the past decade have the potential to address important societal challenges in food, energy, and medicine. Despite the promising advances these technologies might enable, the potential for their deliberate or accidental misuse exists, warranting the development of approaches to help prevent the creation of biothreats. Currently, biological threats are organized based on genetic relatedness, resulting in static, threat-based lists that fail to emphasize biological functions, or assess the risks of unknown sequences.
In order to better address biosecurity concerns, the Fun GCAT program intends to develop next-generation computational and bioinformatics tools to improve DNA sequence screening, to augment biodefense capabilities through the characterization of threats based on function, and to advance our understanding of the relative risks posed by unknown nucleic acid sequences. These tools will enhance the ability to computationally and functionally analyze nucleic acid sequences, ascribe threat potential to known and unknown genes through comparisons to the functions of known threats, and facilitate the ability to screen and identify sequences of concern, including genes responsible for the pathogenesis and virulence of viral threats, bacterial threats, and toxins.
Full information is available here.