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Battelle to Develop Epigenome Identifier Tech Under DARPA Agreement

Jeff Brody

Battelle has entered into a contractor agreement with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop a platform designed to identify epigenome signatures that could be used to determine an individual’s exposure to materials associated with weapons of mass destruction.

Under DARPA’s Epigenetic Characterization and Observation program, Battelle said Monday it will identify unique signatures by comparing blood samples from individuals that have dealt with chemical, biological, pesticide or herbicide contaminants to those of control subjects.

“We’ll be developing methods to identify these signatures and how to interpret them for attribution—what did the person handle, when and for how long,” said Rachel Spurbeck, a principal research scientist and biologist at Battelle. “This will even allow for diagnosing illnesses in individuals as a result of their exposure.”

The nonprofit company said the proposed technology will trace a specific epigenome from a biological sample despite the absence of other physical evidence.

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