Comparative genome sequencing for discovery of novel polymorphisms in Bacillus anthracis
Read TD, Salzberg SL, Pop M, Shumway M, Umayam L, Jiang L, Holtzapple E, Busch JD, Smith KL, Schupp JM, Solomon D, Keim P, Fraser CM
Comparison of the whole-genome sequence of Bacillus anthracis isolated from a victim of a recent bioterrorist anthrax attack with a reference reveals 60 new markers that include single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), inserted or deleted sequences, and tandem repeats. Genome comparison detected four high-quality SNPs between the two sequenced B. anthracis chromosomes and seven differences among different preparations of the reference genome. These markers have been tested on a collection of anthrax isolates and were found to divide these samples into distinct families. These results demonstrate that genome-based analysis of microbial pathogens will provide a powerful new tool for investigation of infectious disease outbreaks.