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Scientists develop strategy to rapidly describe outbreak strains with next-generation DNA sequencing
Date:4/10/2008

athogen of tularemia, is one of the most infectious bacteria known, and there is particular concern that this organism could be manipulated for use as a biological weapon. La Scola and colleagues sequenced a strain isolated from a tularemia patient using the Roche/454 Life Sciences GS20 sequencing system, and compared these sequences with several other strains of F. tularensis, including a strain with reduced pathogencity and an antiobiotic-resistant strain.

The researchers demonstrated that next-generation sequencing of a bacterial genome without finishing could be used to effectively identify several unique features of the F. tularensis clinical strain in a matter of weeks. By using this strategy, if there are a sufficient number of bioinformaticians working on the project, DNA extraction to complete analysis of the genome can take approximately 6 weeks, describes La Scola. We demonstrated that this strategy was efficient to detect gene polymorphisms such as a gene modification responsible for antibiotic resistance, and loss of genetic material. Furthermore, La Scola and colleagues were able to distinguish the clinical strain from 80 other strains of F. tularensis.

While high-throughput sequencing technology and the comparative genomic analysis strategy outlined in this work have significantly decreased the time required for characterization of an outbreak strain, La Scola notes that future advances in software for sequence data analysis and genome comparison could speed up the process even further.


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Contact: Peggy Calicchia
calicchi@cshl.org
516-422-4012
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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