The U.S. Food and Drug Administration along with federal and state public health laboratories have built a publicly accessible genomic database to compare bacterial pathogens that cause foodborne diseases and trace them back to the sources faster and more precisely.

The GenomeTrakr database leverages a laboratory process called whole-genome sequencing that identifies the complete DNA sequence of an organism’s genetic material at a single time. The process is being used together with the database to identify pathogens isolated from food or environmental samples and compare them to pathogens isolated from sick patients.

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