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Infect Immun. 2003 Aug;71(8):4674-83.

Comparative genomic indexing reveals the phylogenomics of Escherichia coli pathogens.

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  • 1Department of Bacterial Diseases, Veterinary Laboratories Agency-Weybridge, New Haw, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 3NB, United Kingdom. m.anjum@vla.defra.gsi.gov.uk


The Escherichia coli O26 serogroup includes important food-borne pathogens associated with human and animal diarrheal disease. Current typing methods have revealed great genetic heterogeneity within the O26 group; the data are often inconsistent and focus only on verotoxin (VT)-positive O26 isolates. To improve current understanding of diversity within this serogroup, the genomic relatedness of VT-positive and -negative O26 strains was assessed by comparative genomic indexing. Our results clearly demonstrate that irrespective of virulence characteristics and pathotype designation, the O26 strains show greater genomic similarity to each other than to any other strain included in this study. Our data suggest that enteropathogenic and VT-expressing E. coli O26 strains represent the same clonal lineage and that VT-expressing E. coli O26 strains have gained additional virulence characteristics. Using this approach, we established the core genes which are central to the E. coli species and identified regions of variation from the E. coli K-12 chromosomal backbone.

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