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Researchers identify new leprosy bacterium
Date:11/24/2008

understand the bacterium and how it causes DLL. They are attempting to sequence the entire M. lepromatosis genome and looking for ways to grow the organism in the lab. Neither leprosy mycobacteria can be cultured because over millions of years they lost genes necessary to survive outside their hosts, a process called reductive evolution.

One of the puzzles of leprosy is that M leprae strains collected worldwide are virtually identical, while the clinical features of the disease and its severity vary greatly both geographically and from person to person. Evidence suggests that individual host immune factors play the key role in determining how the disease progresses.

The authors conclude that the new species M lepromatosis could account for some of this geographical and individual variation.


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Contact: Scott Merville
smerville@mdanderson.org
713-792-0665
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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