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Rev Sci Tech. 2013 Apr;32(1):149-62.

Molecular characterisation of Brucella species.

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Department of Bacteriology and Toxinology, Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology, Neuherbergstrasse 11, D-80937 Munich, Germany.


The genus Brucella (Mayer and Shaw, 1920) currently consists often species with validly published names. Within most species further differentiation into biovars exists. Genetically, all Brucella species are highly related to each other, exhibiting sequence similarity values of 98% to 100% in aligned regions (core genome). The population structure is clonal. Despite this close genetic relatedness, the various species can be clearly distinguished from each other by application of high-resolution molecular typing tools, in addition to assessment of phenotype and host preference. Accurate species delineation can be achieved by conventional multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR), single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis and multilocus sequence typing (MLST) or multilocus sequence analysis (MLSA). The last is also suitable for phylogenetic reconstructions, owing to the highly clonal evolution of the different species. Highly discriminatory multilocus variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR) analysis (MLVA) allows both species delineation and differentiation of individual isolates and thus represents a perfect first-line toolfor molecular epidemiological studies within outbreak investigations. More recently,whole genome sequencing (WGS)and the resulting global genome-wide SNP analysis have become available. These novel approaches should help in further understanding the evolution, host specificity and pathogenicity of the genus Brucella.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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