Microbial disease in humans: A genomic perspective

G. Subramanian, Richard Mural, Stephen L. Hoffman, J. Craig Venter, Samuel Broder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The approach of whole-genome shotgun sequencing coupled with the availability of computational algorithms to facilitate the assembly, gene prediction, and functional annotation of entire genomes has sparked a revolution in our understanding of the biology of free-living organisms. More than 40 bacterial genomes have been sequenced to date, of which several are important human pathogens. The capacity to sequence and assemble entire genomes of bacteria, pathogenic protozoans, and fungi in a rapid and cost-effective way has energized every aspect of microbial science. Comparative genome analysis allows us to dissect the evolutionary forces at work and provides insights into adaptations of microbes to their unique ecological niches. Factors that shape host-pathogen interactions and their outcomes include genetic polymorphisms in the microbial pathogen and host, both of which can impact on microbial virulence or host immune responses to infection. The availability of the genome sequence of entire organisms, together with the use of high-throughput sequence-based genomic technologies to define microbial and host physiological states, provides the unparalleled opportunity to better define clinical outcomes in the field of infectious diseases. There is one overarching lesson: completion of the genomic sequence of any species answers many questions, while at the same time it invites totally new questions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-252
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Diagnosis
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001


  • Comparative
  • Expression profiling
  • Genome
  • Infectious diseases
  • Microbe
  • Polymorphisms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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