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Infect Genet Evol. 2016 Nov;45:66-74. doi: 10.1016/j.meegid.2016.08.017. Epub 2016 Aug 16.

Unexpected genomic relationships between Bacillus anthracis strains from Bangladesh and Central Europe.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Dhaka, Dhaka 1000, Bangladesh; Department of Microbiology & Public Health, Patuakhali Science and Technology University, Khanpura, Babugonj, Barisal, Bangladesh.
Department of Microbiology, University of Dhaka, Dhaka 1000, Bangladesh.
Department of Microbiology & Veterinary Public Health, Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Chittagong, Bangladesh.
Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology, Munich, Germany.
Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology, Munich, Germany. Electronic address:


The zoonosis anthrax caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis has a broad geographical distribution. Active enzootic areas are typically located away from central and northern Europe where cases of the disease occur only sporadically and in limited numbers. In contrast, a few out of the 64 districts of Bangladesh are hyper-endemic for anthrax and there the disease causes major losses in live-stock. In this study we genotyped eight strains of B. anthracis collected from the districts of Sirajganj and Tangail in 2013. All these strains belonged to canSNP group A.Br.001/002 Sterne differing only in a few of 31 tandem-repeat (MLVA)-markers. Whole genome sequences were obtained from five of these strains and compared with genomic information of B. anthracis strains originating from various geographical locations. Characteristic signatures were detected defining two "Bangladesh" clusters potentially useful for rapid molecular epidemiology. From this data high-resolution PCR assays were developed and subsequently tested on additional isolates from Bangladesh and Central Europe. Remarkably, this comparative genomic analysis focusing on SNP-discovery revealed a close genetic relationship between these strains from Bangladesh and historic strains collected between 1991 and 2008 in The Netherlands and Germany, respectively. Possible explanations for these phylogenetic relationships are discussed.


Bacillus anthracis; Bangladesh; Comparative genomics; High-resolution melting SNP analysis (HRM-SNP); Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP); Whole genome sequencing

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