Comparative and Functional Genomics of Mycobacteria
Bovine tuberculosis a zoonotic infection of cattle caused by Mycobacterium bovis. Approximately one-third of the world’s population is infected with M. tuberculosis or M. bovis, “the world’s most successful pathogen,” the majority in developing countries. The global spread and increasing severity of tuberculosis are due in part to the high number of individuals infected with HIV, and in part to the increasing intensity of human-animal interactions as land use patterns around the globe rapidly change. The resistance of M. bovis to two frontline drugs used to treat tuberculosis—isoniazid and pyrazinamide—threatens to return tuberculosis-associated mortality rates to those of the pre-antibiotic era. The severe and growing threat of M. bovis necessitates rapid, thorough national and international surveillance of strain distribution dynamics in the population.
To date, piecemeal analysis of M. bovis genomes and conventional genotyping methods have not lent to a comprehensive resolution of its genetic diversity to explain the wide range of disease phenotypes caused by this zoonotic pathogen. Conventional genotyping methods target a small hypervariable region on the genome of M. bovis and provide anonymous biallelic information insufficient to develop M. bovis phylogeny. Genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) studies in M. tuberculosis have shown to have sufficient resolution to develop trait-allele associations. These researchers hypothesize that genetic and phenotypic diversity in M. bovis is enciphered in their genomes. They are studying these genetic variations.
A bibliography of this group’s publications is attached.
Return to this PI’s main page.