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Nat Rev Genet. 2017 Jan;18(1):41-50. doi: 10.1038/nrg.2016.132. Epub 2016 Nov 14.

Microbial genome-wide association studies: lessons from human GWAS.

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Africa Centre for Population Health, Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 4001, South Africa.
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge CB10 1SA, UK.
Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), Private Bag X7, Durban 4013, South Africa.


The reduced costs of sequencing have led to whole-genome sequences for a large number of microorganisms, enabling the application of microbial genome-wide association studies (GWAS). Given the successes of human GWAS in understanding disease aetiology and identifying potential drug targets, microbial GWAS are likely to further advance our understanding of infectious diseases. These advances include insights into pressing global health problems, such as antibiotic resistance and disease transmission. In this Review, we outline the methodologies of GWAS, the current state of the field of microbial GWAS, and how lessons from human GWAS can direct the future of the field.

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