The report, released yesterday by the
"Genomics has had a profound and lasting impact on the study of pathogens and disease, to the extent that it is difficult to imagine what the science would be like today in the absence of genomics," said Richard Roberts, the chair of a colloquium convened by the Academy in Key Largo, Fla., which was the basis of the report.
Sequencing the genomes of viruses and bacterial pathogens have become a first priority when investigating outbreaks and emerging infectious diseases, a report stated.
According to the report, more than 100 bacterial pathogens and 1,000 viruses have been sequenced since the first completed genome of a pathogenic bacterium was announced in 1995. The genomes are used globally to track and identify new diseases such as SARS, and have revolutionized the study of older diseases such as AIDS and tuberculosis.
Scientist recommended greatly increasing the library of genomes to include not only pathogenic microorganisms, but also sequences of their hosts, and sequences of their non-pathogenic relatives.
Improvements are also needed in the annotation of genomic methodologies and in sequence databases, the report said.
A copy of the report can be found here.