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J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Feb;45(2):358-63. Epub 2006 Dec 20.

GeneChip resequencing of the smallpox virus genome can identify novel strains: a biodefense application.

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Biotechnology Core Facility Branch, Division of Scientific Resources, National Center for Preparedness, Detection, and Control of Infectious Diseases, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.


We developed a set of seven resequencing GeneChips, based on the complete genome sequences of 24 strains of smallpox virus (variola virus), for rapid characterization of this human-pathogenic virus. Each GeneChip was designed to analyze a divergent segment of approximately 30,000 bases of the smallpox virus genome. This study includes the hybridization results of 14 smallpox virus strains. Of the 14 smallpox virus strains hybridized, only 7 had sequence information included in the design of the smallpox virus resequencing GeneChips; similar information for the remaining strains was not tiled as a reference in these GeneChips. By use of variola virus-specific primers and long-range PCR, 22 overlapping amplicons were amplified to cover nearly the complete genome and hybridized with the smallpox virus resequencing GeneChip set. These GeneChips were successful in generating nucleotide sequences for all 14 of the smallpox virus strains hybridized. Analysis of the data indicated that the GeneChip resequencing by hybridization was fast and reproducible and that the smallpox virus resequencing GeneChips could differentiate the 14 smallpox virus strains characterized. This study also suggests that high-density resequencing GeneChips have potential biodefense applications and may be used as an alternate tool for rapid identification of smallpox virus in the future.

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