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A novel influenza A (H1N1) virus has spread rapidly across the globe. Judging its pandemic potential is difficult with limited data, but nevertheless essential to inform appropriate health responses. By analyzing the outbreak in Mexico, early data on international spread, and viral genetic diversity, we make an early assessment of transmissibility and(More)
The introduction of multilocus sequence typing (MLST) for the precise characterization of isolates of bacterial pathogens has had a marked impact on both routine epidemiological surveillance and microbial population biology. In both fields, a key prerequisite for exploiting this resource is the ability to discern the relatedness and patterns of evolutionary(More)
Epidemiological studies of the naturally transformable bacterial pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae have previously been confounded by high rates of recombination. Sequencing 240 isolates of the PMEN1 (Spain(23F)-1) multidrug-resistant lineage enabled base substitutions to be distinguished from polymorphisms arising through horizontal sequence transfer. More(More)
Genetic surveys reveal the diversity of bacteria and lead to the questioning of species concepts used to categorize bacteria. One difficulty in defining bacterial species arises from the high rates of recombination that results in the transfer of DNA between relatively distantly related bacteria. Barriers to this process, which could be used to define(More)
Understanding bacterial population genetics is vital for interpreting the response of bacterial populations to selection pressures such as antibiotic treatment or vaccines targeted at only a subset of strains. The evolution of transmissible bacteria occurs by mutation and localized recombination and is influenced by epidemiological as well as molecular(More)
BACKGROUND National surveillance of gastrointestinal pathogens, such as Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157 (STEC O157), is key to rapidly identifying linked cases in the distributed food network to facilitate public health interventions. In this study, we used whole-genome sequencing (WGS) as a tool to inform national surveillance of STEC O157 in(More)
BACKGROUND Methods for assigning strains to bacterial species are cumbersome and no longer fit for purpose. The concatenated sequences of multiple house-keeping genes have been shown to be able to define and circumscribe bacterial species as sequence clusters. The advantage of this approach (multilocus sequence analysis; MLSA) is that, for any group of(More)
The Bacteria and Archaea are the most genetically diverse superkingdoms of life, and techniques for exploring that diversity are only just becoming widespread. Taxonomists classify these organisms into species in much the same way as they classify eukaryotes, but differences in their biology-including horizontal gene transfer between distantly related taxa(More)
Many bacterial and archaeal lineages have a history of extensive and ongoing horizontal gene transfer and loss, as evidenced by the large differences in genome content even among otherwise closely related isolates. How ecologically cohesive populations might evolve and be maintained under such conditions of rapid gene turnover has remained controversial.(More)
The use of antibiotics in agriculture is routinely described as a major contributor to the clinical problem of resistant disease in human medicine. While a link is plausible, there are no data conclusively showing the magnitude of the threat emerging from agriculture. Here, we define the potential mechanisms by which agricultural antibiotic use could lead(More)