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J Clin Microbiol. 2004 Oct;42(10):4566-76.

Large-scale comparative genomics meta-analysis of Campylobacter jejuni isolates reveals low level of genome plasticity.

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  • 1Pathogen Genomics Group, Institute for Biological Sciences, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


We have used comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) on a full-genome Campylobacter jejuni microarray to examine genome-wide gene conservation patterns among 51 strains isolated from food and clinical sources. These data have been integrated with data from three previous C. jejuni CGH studies to perform a meta-analysis that included 97 strains from the four separate data sets. Although many genes were found to be divergent across multiple strains (n = 350), many genes (n = 249) were uniquely variable in single strains. Thus, the strains in each data set comprise strains with a unique genetic diversity not found in the strains in the other data sets. Despite the large increase in the collective number of variable C. jejuni genes (n = 599) found in the meta-analysis data set, nearly half of these (n = 276) mapped to previously defined variable loci, and it therefore appears that large regions of the C. jejuni genome are genetically stable. A detailed analysis of the microarray data revealed that divergent genes could be differentiated on the basis of the amplitudes of their differential microarray signals. Of 599 variable genes, 122 could be classified as highly divergent on the basis of CGH data. Nearly all highly divergent genes (117 of 122) had divergent neighbors and showed high levels of intraspecies variability. The approach outlined here has enabled us to distinguish global trends of gene conservation in C. jejuni and has enabled us to define this group of genes as a robust set of variable markers that can become the cornerstone of a new generation of genotyping methods that use genome-wide C. jejuni gene variability data.

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