The FDA's Experience with Emerging Genomics Technologies-Past, Present, and Future.

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The rapid advancement of emerging genomics technologies and their application for assessing safety and efficacy of FDA-regulated products require a high standard of reliability and robustness supporting regulatory decision-making in the FDA. To facilitate the regulatory application, the FDA implemented a novel data submission program, Voluntary Genomics Data Submission (VGDS), and also to engage the stakeholders. As part of the endeavor, for the past 10 years, the FDA has led an international consortium of regulatory agencies, academia, pharmaceutical companies, and genomics platform providers, which was named MicroArray Quality Control Consortium (MAQC), to address issues such as reproducibility, precision, specificity/sensitivity, and data interpretation. Three projects have been completed so far assessing these genomics technologies: gene expression microarrays, whole genome genotyping arrays, and whole transcriptome sequencing (i.e., RNA-seq). The resultant studies provide the basic parameters for fit-for-purpose application of these new data streams in regulatory environments, and the solutions have been made available to the public through peer-reviewed publications. The latest MAQC project is also called the SEquencing Quality Control (SEQC) project focused on next-generation sequencing. Using reference samples with built-in controls, SEQC studies have demonstrated that relative gene expression can be measured accurately and reliably across laboratories and RNA-seq platforms. Besides prediction performance comparable to microarrays in clinical settings and safety assessments, RNA-seq is shown to have better sensitivity for low expression and reveal novel transcriptomic features. Future effort of MAQC will be focused on quality control of whole genome sequencing and targeted sequencing.

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