I will update the current state of our candidate RM 8376 for mixed microbial DNA detection via NGS-based sequencing and metagenomics. After community engagement to understand the metrological needs in the metagenomics workspace, we have produced a candidate reference material to address some of the challenges facing the field; namely, characterizing some of the sequencing and informatics biases. Current efforts focus on characterizing the materials for concentration; homogeneity, identity, purity; and stability. In addition, we have begun examining possible experimental models that will enable metagenomic tool characterization of relative performance metrics (e.g. sensitivity, specificity). The early results of this show that “simple” mixtures can produce complex outputs that highlight strengths and weaknesses of each tool. We are also looking ahead to needs in other (viral) areas using sequencing and metagenomics, to identify potential materials and methods that will quickly address their challenges.
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