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Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2014 Sep 4;4(12):a021188. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a021188.

Diversity and evolution of Mycobacterium tuberculosis: moving to whole-genome-based approaches.

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Molecular Mycobacteriology, Forschungszentrum Borstel, Leibniz-Zentrum für Medizin und Biowissenschaften, 23845 Borstel, Germany German Center for Infection Research (DZIF), partner site Borstel, 23845 Borstel, Germany.
Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Medicalé (INSERM) U1019, 59019 Lille, France Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) UMR 8204, 59019 Lille, France Institut Pasteur de Lille, Center for Infection and Immunity of Lille, 59019 Lille, France Université Lille Nord de France, 59019 Lille, France.


Genotyping of clinical Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) strains has become a standard tool for epidemiological tracing and for the investigation of the local and global strain population structure. Of special importance is the analysis of the expansion of multidrug (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) strains. Classical genotyping and, more recently, whole-genome sequencing have revealed that the strains of the MTBC are more diverse than previously anticipated. Globally, several phylogenetic lineages can be distinguished whose geographical distribution is markedly variable. Strains of particular (sub)lineages, such as Beijing, seem to be more virulent and associated with enhanced resistance levels and fitness, likely fueling their spread in certain world regions. The upcoming generalization of whole-genome sequencing approaches will expectedly provide more comprehensive insights into the molecular and epidemiological mechanisms involved and lead to better diagnostic and therapeutic tools.

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