Each of the 30 trillion cells that comprise the human body possesses a complete copy of that person's genome, the 3 billion DNA base pairs that serve as the genetic code for building a human.
Genome editing technologies such as zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs), transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs), meganucleases, and clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) hold great promise for regenerative medicine and other applications. But using these technologies will require robust measurements. NIST will be leading a consortium to develop measurement solutions and standards that will support innovation and products in the genome editing technology space.
We help cancer biomarker discovery research laboratories establish confidence in sequencing measurements through interlaboratory studies funded by the Early Detection Research Network (EDRN, National Cancer Institute) and with the erccdashboard software tool. Accurate genomic analysis is also critical for synthetic biology, where it is essential to understand and predict the regulatory nuances of gene position relative to other sequences.
NIST DNA control sequences, known as ERCC control materials, can be used to evaluate gene expression analysis, and the Genome in a Bottle Consortium is providing a similar reference material and bioinformatics analysis for whole genome sequencing.