PHA presents future of HTS technology in biosecurity

  • PHA presents future of HTS technology in biosecurity image

The Plant Health and Environment Laboratory, Ministry for Primary Industries Biosecurity New Zealand, recently hosted a three-day online workshop in March.

Focusing on the know-how and advances in High Throughput Sequencing (HTS) technologies for biosecurity, the workshop enhanced collaboration in the form of new projects, in-person meetings and technical hands-on training.

The international lineup included speakers from Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Spain, Belgium, Italy, and South Africa, who presented a total of 40 sessions to 126 registered participants.

A highlight was PHA’s Dr Cheryl Grgurinovic’s, Manager: Diagnostics, presentation on the National Coordination of High-Throughput Sequencing (HTS) Data for a Connected Diagnostics System. The presentation focused on a 12-month project conducted by Plant Health Australia in 2022–2023 on behalf of the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, and funded under the department’s Biosecurity Innovation Program which supports collaboration between industry and government. The project scoped a proposed HTS database to provide a secure, centralised platform for storage, sharing and analysis of plant pest genomic data detected in agricultural and environmental settings. With extensive stakeholder consultation, the architecture of the HTS database has been scoped, and draft data standards and draft governance arrangements have also been developed.

The presentation also discussed the Biosecurity Trakka project, which will provide a centralised platform to analyse high quality genomic data sourced from multiple trusted sources, including the HTS database and other trusted databases such as the Australian Plant Pest database (APPD), AUSPestCheck® and the Pest and Disease Image Library (PaDIL).

Funding for this project is currently under consideration by Hort Innovation as part of the Hort Frontiers Strategic Partnership Initiative.