High-throughput sequencing (HTS) scoping completed

September 19, 2023

High-throughput sequencing (HTS) technologies offer a rapid, reliable and cost-efficient diagnostic platform to identify pests and pathogens in a single test, increasing Australia’s diagnostic capacity, and delivering rapid, more accurate results. HTS generates massive datasets, and the increasing amount of data being generated on plant pests and pathogens has emphasised the need for a secure, centralised platform that allows the submission, sharing and analysis of standardised HTS data.

Phase 1 of the project was funded by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) under its Biosecurity Innovation Program. Plant Health Australia (PHA) is now seeking collaborators to be involved in Phase 2 of the project which is to build the database and make it operational.

Phase 1 aimed to develop an agreed foundation for the design and scope of a central, secure and private online location to hold trusted genome sequences for National Priority Plant Pests, industry high priority pests and trade sensitive established pests to support emergency responses, area freedom and relevant research.

The project involved consulting widely with stakeholders to develop not only a proposed architecture for the database, but also to seek agreement on governance arrangements and data standards. PHA convened three workshops as part of this process. The attendees at the workshops included members of the Subcommittee on Plant Health Diagnostics (SPHD) as well as other officers from States and Territories, members of the National Biosecurity Committee’s HTS working group, SPHD’s HTS working group, CSIRO, Bioplatforms Australia, universities, peak bodies, research and development corporations, and the Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative.

To create awareness, a presentation on the proposed HTS database was delivered at the Annual Diagnostics and Surveillance Workshop in May this year, and a presentation will also be delivered at the Australasian Plant Pathology Society Conference, in Adelaide in November 2023.

To discuss potential collaboration opportunities and for further information please contact PHA’s Cheryl Grgurinovic or Lucy Tran-Nguyen.