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Trends Microbiol. 2006 Aug;14(8):353-5. Epub 2006 Jun 19.

Genome-wide association mapping in bacteria?

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Peter Medawar Building for Pathogen Research, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3SY, UK.


Bacteria display many interesting phenotypes such as virulence, tissue specificity and host range, for which it would be useful to know the genetic basis. Association mapping involves identifying causal variants by showing that particular genotypes are statistically associated with a phenotypic trait in a sample of strains taken from a natural population. With the advent of high-throughput genotyping, association mapping is becoming an increasingly powerful approach. However, until recently, association studies had not been used in bacteria because of their strong population structure, which can produce false positives and/or loss of statistical power unless elucidated and taken into account in analyses. Here, we describe how association mapping could be successfully applied to bacteria and outline the necessary sampling and genotyping strategies.

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