Research highlight

Chlamydia genome sequencing

Nature Genetics

March 12, 2012

Whole genome sequencing of Chlamydia trachomatis is reported in a study this week in Nature Genetics. C. trachomatis is a human pathogen that causes of one of the most prevalent sexually transmitted infections worldwide, as well as infections of the eye that are a leading infectious cause of blindness. Simon Harris and colleagues report a comparative genomic study of 53 C. trachomatis whole genome sequences. These strains were isolated from epidemics during 1959-2009, and were selected to represent the diversity of clinical strains. The authors used this sequence dataset to construct a more accurate whole genome phylogeny for the species. Their analysis allows for a reconstruction of the evolutionary history of C. trachomatis, and has implications for monitoring of epidemiological infections and characterizing population structure and strain diversity. The authors also find that a traditionally used C. trachomatis single gene diagnostic, based on genotyping the ompA gene encoding the major outer membrane protein, has limited utility for strain typing and inferring genetic relatedness. They suggest the need for typing a larger number of loci across the genome for more accurate strain typing.

doi: 10.1038/ng.2214

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