Pathogen genome project publishes new results



The amount of genomic information on foodborne pathogens continues to grow as a University of California-Davis-led project announced the availability of 20 more pathogen genomes.

The newly-sequenced genomes for multiple isolates of Salmonella, Listeria, Vibrio and Campylobacter will now be added to the 100K Genome Project’s public database. So far, the project has sequenced 30 genomes, a start to reaching its goal of sequencing 100,000 viral and bacterial genomes, according to a statement from UC-Davis.

“These finished genome sequences represent the highest quality standard, with each strain closed in a single bacterial chromosome and the associated mobile DNA,” said Bart Weimer, director of the 100K Genome Project and professor at the school of veterinary medicine at UC Davis, in a statement. “They also contain complete associated phage or plasmid elements, which are critical for understanding pathogenicity, drug resistance and other biologically important traits that are linked to survival. The genomes we have analyzed to date are from pathogens responsible for common and debilitating foodborne infections.”

The project was launched last year and first added data to the database in June. Researchers hope the availability of genomic information will help public health officials track the source of outbreaks faster and more effectively.

“Making these genomic sequences publicly available through the National Center for Biotechnology Information database provides researchers and public health officials with information that will allow tracking of foodborne pathogens to their source,” said Marc Allard, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration genomics expert and advisor to the 100K Genome Project, in a statement.

About 48 million people in the U.S. are sickened by foodborne illness annually and about 3,000 die, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics. In 2011, Salmonella infections caused more than 1 million illnesses while Campylobacter caused more than 840,000.


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