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Drug Discov Today Dis Mech. 2010 Spring;7(1):e43-e59.

Does M. tuberculosis genomic diversity explain disease diversity?

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Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, Switzerland.


The outcome of tuberculosis infection and disease is highly variable. This variation has been attributed primarily to host and environmental factors, but better understanding of the global genomic diversity in the M. tuberculosis complex (MTBC) suggests that bacterial factors could also be involved. Review of nearly 100 published reports shows that MTBC strains differ in their virulence and immunogenicity in experimental models, but whether this phenotypic variation plays a role in human disease remains unclear. Given the complex interactions between the host, the pathogen and the environment, linking MTBC genotypic diversity to experimental and clinical phenotypes requires an integrated systems epidemiology approach embedded in a robust evolutionary framework.

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