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The Genome Editing Consortium

A grid behind some DNA and atom shapes. Graphic design.
Credit: Pixabay User PublicDomainPictures

Genome editing is the manipulation of the genetic material of a living organism by deleting, replacing, or inserting a DNA sequence, typically with the aim of improving a crop, farmed animal, or correcting a genetic disorder. In many cases, targeted genome editing is being used to fight diseases and is being used to craft novel therapeutics, with a focus on regenerative medicines and infectious diseases. This cutting-edge technology is one that will play a major role as the years progress. NIST needed a way to compile and organize all the genome editing research and materials into one place for efficiency.

NIST designed the “Genome Editing Consortium,” in order to fulfill this issue, as well as to increase confidence and lower the risk of utilizing genome editing technologies in research and commercial products. NIST has five main goals with the Genome Editing Consortium:

  • Evaluate genome editing assay pipelines
  • Develop benchmark materials
  • Generate benchmark data
  • Develop suggested minimal information reporting for public studies
  • Generate a common lexicon for genome editing studies     

The Genome Editing Consortium is broken down into three major working groups. First, is “specificity measurements.” The purpose of this working group is to create, generate and evaluate DNA spike-in control materials, which is used to validate next-generation sequencing pipeline and additional platforms. The second group is “data and metadata.” The purpose of this group is to identify standards for data formats and analysis and figure out the best metadata to share throughout the community. The third group is “lexicon.” The purpose of this group is to select the most used terms and definitions within this community to better standardize the language being used.

By designing the Genome Editing Consortium, NIST has built a platform for cross-disciplinary expertise to share and discover the latest in the science of genome editing. Through this, NIST is able to set the standards and measurements within this discipline for federal labs, interagency, universities and public workshops. The Genome Editing Consortium is an excellent tool for experts to collaborate.

Released August 20, 2020, Updated August 21, 2020