Clinical metagenomics is still in its infancy, and maturation of the field requires an appropriate accreditation program to ensure quality testing and patient safety. This webinar provided an overview of how one metagenomics lab — the Alkek Center for Metagenomics & Microbiome Research (CMMR) at Baylor College of Medicine — is pursuing CLIA/CAP accreditation.
An integral component of the accreditation process is proficiency testing (PT), which utilizes pre-established criteria, or measurement standards, for inter-laboratory comparisons. To date, commercially available metagenomic PT offerings are not available, which puts the burden on individual laboratories to develop an alternative assessment. In order to address the need for PT in metagenomics, the CMMR utilized a combination of previously sequenced samples (e.g. “blinded generous donor samples”), synthetic DNA standards, and mock communities to evaluate microbial DNA extraction, library preparation, and sequencing.
In addition to developing PT specific to metagenomic analyses, the CMMR developed a quality system with standard operation procedures (SOPs), competency testing, a laboratory information management system (LIMS), and asset management software in compliance with CLIA/CAP standards.
The complexity of metagenomic analyses are compounded by a limited understanding of the sources of variance and their impact on downstream analyses. Therefore, it is critical that the community adopt a universal set of standards for PT. Common sets of standards will enable identification of variation introduced by lab processes, thus allowing for the safe adaptation to clinical use.
This webinar is the second on metagenomics under the GenomeWeb/ABRF 2016 Webinar Series. The first webinar in the series is available on demand here.