Large-scale genomics projects are identifying biomarkers to detect human disease. B. pseudomallei and B. mallei are two closely related select agents that cause melioidosis and glanders. Accurate characterization of metagenomic samples is dependent on accurate measurements of genetic variation between isolates with resolution down to strain level. Often single biomarker sensitivity is augmented by use of multiple or panels of biomarkers. In parallel with single biomarker validation, advances in DNA sequencing enable analysis of entire genomes in a single run: population-sequencing. Potentially, direct sequencing could be used to analyze an entire genome to serve as the biomarker for genome identification. However, genome variation and population diversity complicate use of direct sequencing, as well as differences caused by sample preparation protocols including sequencing artifacts and mistakes. As part of a Department of Homeland Security program in bacterial forensics, we examined how to implement whole genome sequencing (WGS) analysis as a judicially defensible forensic method for attributing microbial sample relatedness; and also to determine the strengths and limitations of whole genome sequence analysis in a forensics context. Herein, we demonstrate use of sequencing to provide genetic characterization of populations: direct sequencing of populations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology