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.
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