(e.g., those that result from having low numbers of target sequences in the sample volume), miniaturization of components, and prevention of clogging in any system that would continuously sample the environment.

Finding 6-3: Highly stable reagents not only improve on the time a particular system may operate unattended but also may improve the overall reproducibility and reliability of the detection as well as the logistics and storage requirements to support the detector.

Recommendation 6-3: R&D should be conducted to develop reagents for nucleic acid assays with improved chemical stability.

Finding 6-4: Although a detect-to-warn system has its highest impact if it can initiate responses within approximately 1 minute of an attack, technologies that provide confirmation of the attack and identify the organisms involved will serve a vital function in the overall defensive architecture, even if their response times are several minutes.

Recommendation 6-4: R&D should be conducted to develop an integrated, fully automated PCR system, including sample collection, preparation, and analysis, initially with a 15-minute or so overall confirmation time and later with a 5-minute or so confirmation time.

Finding 6-5: Of the technologies considered, the determination of the sequence of unamplified target ribosomal RNA appears to offer the best potential for a 1-minute DTW system. However, cost and maintenance factors associated with required reagents would still be important issues.

Recommendation 6-5: Support research on an integrated assay for rapid sequence determination of ribosomal RNA (rRNA). This would include the selection of appropriate processing steps, their proper order, and minimum acceptable duration.

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