Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers improve detection of diverse anthrax strains

31.08.2004


Scientists have capitalized on genomic data to define novel diagnostic tests and to gain insight into the evolutionary and genetic history of the deadly pathogen Bacillus anthracis (anthrax).



Researchers at Northern Arizona University (NAU), the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) used nearly 1000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to define the genetic and evolutionary types of several anthrax isolates with extremely high resolution.

The results are scheduled for publication online this week by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


"This level of detail is not possible without whole genome sequences from multiple strains," said the paper’s senior author Dr. Paul Keim, Director of Pathogen Genomics at TGen and the Cowden Endowed Chair of Microbiology at NAU. "This work now provides the raw material for highly specific and sensitive tests for anthrax in human cases, animal cases and within the environment. Specific and sensitive tests for this pathogen are needed for effective bio-defense and forensic investigation into previous events."

TIGR’s scientists sequenced the genomes of five isolates, or strains, of anthrax and then compared the results of each sequence to detect minute variations (SNPs). TGen and NAU researchers used that data to develop a typing, or identification, system for various anthrax strains.

"This is the first time that a new bacterial typing system has been developed from an analysis of multiple sequenced genomes of the same species," said Dr. Jacques Ravel, who led the sequencing effort at TIGR. "Comparing the sequence of entire microbial genomes is helping scientists unravel the complex evolutionary history of this lethal agent."

The SNPs described in this work were highly stable. Only one SNP was not entirely stable across the entire study, which means that diagnostic and forensic tests developed using this information will have extremely low false positive, or misidentification rates, a crucial criterion for advanced tests. False positives from anthrax environmental tests would have an inordinate impact on public health should an outbreak occur.

The work also shows for the first time that how researchers "discover" DNA fingerprints is crucial to what they can be used for. The selection of anthrax strains for whole genome sequencing was guided by prior work on the large global anthrax collection, which maximized the information that was ultimately obtained from the whole genome sequencing effort. Similar efforts without such forethought would be ineffective at defining major bacterial populations.

This study shows that diverse strains of pathogens will not be recognized unless they are contained within the scope for the discovery process.

"That the genetic relationships of anthrax have been defined to a new level of precision provides a critical step toward future detection of this potential public threat," added Keim. "In addition, this study established a model for other biothreat pathogens, and common public health related diseases such as E. coli, Strep, Staph, and Salmonella."

Galen Perry | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.tgen.org
http://www.tigr.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Scientists enlist engineered protein to battle the MERS virus
22.05.2017 | University of Toronto

nachricht Insight into enzyme's 3-D structure could cut biofuel costs
19.05.2017 | DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

Im Focus: Hydrogen Bonds Directly Detected for the First Time

For the first time, scientists have succeeded in studying the strength of hydrogen bonds in a single molecule using an atomic force microscope. Researchers from the University of Basel’s Swiss Nanoscience Institute network have reported the results in the journal Science Advances.

Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and is an integral part of almost all organic compounds. Molecules and sections of macromolecules are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

Media accreditation opens for historic year at European Health Forum Gastein

16.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New approach to revolutionize the production of molecular hydrogen

22.05.2017 | Materials Sciences

Scientists enlist engineered protein to battle the MERS virus

22.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Experts explain origins of topographic relief on Earth, Mars and Titan

22.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>