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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2004 Jun;7(3):308-13.

Analyses of clonality and the evolution of bacterial pathogens.

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  • 1Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath, BA2 7AY, UK.


The existence of bacterial clones was evident in early phenotypic studies that recognised high levels of similarity in geographically and temporally separated isolates. Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) has become the most common method for genetically characterizing clones of several bacterial pathogens, allowing the tracking of hypervirulent/antibiotic-resistant lineages. MLST has also been used to examine the way that bacterial populations, and in particular, bacterial clones evolve. Visualisation of MLST datasets has required the development of novel tools, such as 'eBURST', a key program in constructing evolutionary models that detail how methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other clones emerge and spread.

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