What could you do with real-time biological information?

Make sure disease outbreaks can be understood in real time?

When the next outbreak of an infectious disease emerges somewhere in the world, imagine if it can be detected, tracked and intercepted at source, even in the world’s remotest locations, before it becomes an epidemic/pandemic.

What's in this soil?

Soil contains a rich and diverse microbiome, which will affect its ability to grow certain crops. It also gives clues to environmental changes.

Monitor changes in my biological state – from home?

Could we one day perform surveillance, at home, of long term trends and changes in our biological state? Imagine weekly expression analysis? What could this tell us?

Could we enable parents to tell if their child needs antibiotics?

Portable DNA sequencers could enable accurate and rapid diagnosis of infection in the home, pharmacy or at the family doctor.

Arm a network of citizen scientists to identify every species?

Biologists have only been able to start building the tree of life. Imagine if any scientist could contribute to modern phylogeny, at home.

Have I got the Sushi I paid for?

In 2016 scientists found that nearly half of LA sushi was mislabelled. Could you use DNA information to perform your own quality control? Or rely on independent DNA-based quality marks, combined with blockchain, to tell you the truth?

Should I let this plant through customs?

Plants have diseases, and if they spread across borders the effects could be devastating. DNA and RNA information gives insight into species and their pests.

Has a food production pipeline been contaminated by a pathogen?

Detecting pathogens before they enter the food chain or spoil batches in production would improve health and lower production costs.

Has something entered this food chain that shouldn’t? Is this ingredient authentic?

You can identify a species by its DNA, whether that is a food ingredient such as beef (or horse?) or a contaminant such as Salmonella or E. coli. Imagine being able to do this in real time and prevent undesirable ingredients from progressing further in the food supply chain.

Is my fish farm healthy?

Farmed fish and seafood is an important source of protein, globally. Pathogens that affect these production facilities spread rapidly – real time DNA / RNA information could enable rapid action.

Can I optimise the brewing of this beer?

Fermentation is a delicate balance of biological soup. Could you get the most delicious and enduring product by observing fermenting communities in real time?

Is this batch of biologics production going to plan?

Producing 'biologics' (novel medicines) requires expertise and investment. Real-time insight into the biological composition of the batch could optimise production and guard against biological contamination.