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Standards for Pathogen Identification via Next-Generation Sequencing (SPIN) Workshop Summary Report



Nathanael D. Olson, Nancy J. Lin, Scott A. Jackson


Advances in DNA sequencing over the last decade have lowered the barrier to whole genome sequencing. However, additional challenges must be overcome before widespread adoption of whole genome sequencing is realized for pathogen identification in applied settings such as biothreat detection, outbreak monitoring, and clinical diagnostics. In an effort to identify priority areas for standards development and facilitate the adoption of new sequencing technologies, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) convened a two-day workshop composed of representatives from Federal Government agencies, academia, and industry, all of whom are utilizing or developing methods for pathogen identification using next-generation sequencing (NGS). The workshop objectives were to identify current and anticipated future measurement challenges hindering the implementation of NGS in pathogen identification, and to propose avenues to address these challenges including recommendations for standards development. First, leaders in the field presented their efforts and thoughts on whole genome sequencing challenges related to specific areas including metrology, sample preparation, outbreak and antimicrobial resistance surveillance, large scale genomic sequencing projects, genome sequence databases, bioinformatics methods, and biomarker development. Then, attendees met in breakout groups and identified a number of measurement challenges and potential standards-based solutions for NGS-based pathogen identification. The challenges identified covered all steps involved in NGS, from sample to answer. Proposed solutions included reference materials, reference data, documentary standards and guidance, and interlaboratory studies for method validation and proficiency testing; database size, quality and curation; sample processing; as well as data analysis and interpretation. Next steps are to further prioritize the challenges identified at the workshop and convene groups of experts in
Special Publication (NIST SP) - 1183
Report Number


Olson, N. , Lin, N. and Jackson, S. (2015), Standards for Pathogen Identification via Next-Generation Sequencing (SPIN) Workshop Summary Report, Special Publication (NIST SP), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed May 25, 2024)


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Created June 1, 2015, Updated January 27, 2020