Developing Inclusivity and Exclusivity Panels for Testing Diagnostic and Detection Tools Targeting Burkholderia pseudomallei, the Causative Agent of Melioidosis

Charles H.D. Williamson, David M Wagner, Paul S Keim, Jason W. Sahl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Diagnostic tools designed to target Burkholderia pseudomallei, the causative agent of melioidosis that was classified as a Tier 1 Select Agent by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have typically suffered from false-positive and false-negative results because of a lack of understanding of the genomic diversity of B. pseudomallei and its genetic near neighbors. Objective: In this review, we discuss a strategy for using comparative genomics to guide the design of inclusivity and exclusivity panels for the validation of assays as defined by the Standard Method Performance Requirement (SMPR). Methods: Based upon a literature review, comparative genomic analyses, and hands-on experience with diagnostic development and testing, we describe important factors to consider when developing inclusivity and exclusivity panels for testing diagnostic and/or detection tools. Results: The genomic diversity of B. pseudomallei is substantial, with the genome characterized by horizontal gene transfer, including the acquisition of genomic islands from near-neighbor species. This genomic diversity, core genome reduction, and signal erosion can complicate molecular diagnostic tool development and validation. Conclusions: Accurate diagnostic and/or detection tools targeting B. pseudomallei, an important pathogen from a public health and biodefense perspective, are needed for many applications. Utilizing whole genome sequencing data and comparative genomic techniques can guide the development and validation of such tools. Amplicon sequencing assays and assay redundancy can provide improved assay performance. Highlights: When developing and validating diagnostic and/or detection tools targeting B. pseudomallei, it is important to consider genomic diversity, genome reduction, and signal erosion to reduce the effects of typical diagnostic errors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1920-1926
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of AOAC International
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Food Science
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Pharmacology

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