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The need for high-quality whole-genome sequence databases in microbial forensics
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Chemistry.
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2013 (English)In: Biosecurity and bioterrorism, ISSN 1538-7135, E-ISSN 1557-850X, Vol. 11, no Supplement 1, S78-S86 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Microbial forensics is an important part of a strengthened capability to respond to biocrime and bioterrorism incidents to aid in the complex task of distinguishing between natural outbreaks and deliberate acts. The goal of a microbial forensic investigation is to identify and criminally prosecute those responsible for a biological attack, and it involves a detailed analysis of the weapon-that is, the pathogen. The recent development of next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies has greatly increased the resolution that can be achieved in microbial forensic analyses. It is now possible to identify, quickly and in an unbiased manner, previously undetectable genome differences between closely related isolates. This development is particularly relevant for the most deadly bacterial diseases that are caused by bacterial lineages with extremely low levels of genetic diversity. Whole-genome analysis of pathogens is envisaged to be increasingly essential for this purpose. In a microbial forensic context, whole-genome sequence analysis is the ultimate method for strain comparisons as it is informative during identification, characterization, and attribution-all 3 major stages of the investigation-and at all levels of microbial strain identity resolution (ie, it resolves the full spectrum from family to isolate). Given these capabilities, one bottleneck in microbial forensics investigations is the availability of high-quality reference databases of bacterial whole-genome sequences. To be of high quality, databases need to be curated and accurate in terms of sequences, metadata, and genetic diversity coverage. The development of whole-genome sequence databases will be instrumental in successfully tracing pathogens in the future.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 11, no Supplement 1, S78-S86 p.
National Category
Forensic Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-90483DOI: 10.1089/bsp.2013.0007ISI: 000336524100010OAI: diva2:732677
Available from: 2014-07-04 Created: 2014-06-23 Last updated: 2014-07-04Bibliographically approved

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Sjödin, Andreas
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