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Microbes Infect. 2006 Apr;8(5):1406-18. Epub 2006 Jan 26.

Current understanding of the genetic diversity of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis.

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  • 1Food Animal Health Research Program, Ohio Agricultural Research Development Center and Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, The Ohio State University, Wooster, OH, USA.


Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) is the etiological agent of Johne's disease (or paratuberculosis). Paratuberculosis is a chronic gastroenteritis mainly affecting cattle, sheep and other ruminants. MAP is also of concern due to the heretofore unresolved issue of its possible role in Crohn's disease in humans. We present here a review of MAP (i) mobile genetic elements; (ii) repetitive elements; (iii) single nucleotide polymorphisms; and (iv) whole-genome comparisons to study the molecular epidemiology of MAP. A summary of the findings to date is presented, and the discriminatory power, advantage and disadvantages of each of the methods are compared and discussed.

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