IARPA posts genome editing detection RFI
On January 23, the Intelligence Advance Research Projects Activity posted an RFI for detection of genome editing (Solicitation Number: IARPA-RFI-17-02). Responses to this RFI are due no later than 4:00 p.m., Eastern Time, on March 3.
The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) is seeking information on potential tools and methods to detect organisms that have been modified using genome editing techniques.
Recent breakthroughs in genome editing, including CRISPR/Cas, are enabling significant advancements in the life sciences. Beneficial impacts are expected to be wide-ranging, from creating novel medical treatments to the development of crops that are more nutritious and able to grow in harsh environments.
In addition, “gene drive” technologies may provide opportunities to prevent diseases in crops, remove invasive species, or stop the spread of malaria and other vector-borne diseases. While genome editing technology will enable new biological breakthroughs, the unintentional or deliberate misuse of genome editing tools may have adverse economic, health, and national security implications. IARPA is interested in tools and methods that can be used to detect evidence of genome editing in biological organisms, including viruses.
The fundamental components of many genome editing tools are found in nature, so detection requires an ability to distinguish engineered organisms from naturally-occurring background. Detection capabilities will help guard against unintended outcomes of genome editing and expedite appropriate mitigation responses to unapproved release of edited organisms.
Full information is available here.