Genome sequencing - the ultimate answer to global real time genotyping and surveillance?

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Objective: In the beginning of the bacterial typing era, typing systems were based solely on phenotypic methods such as serotyping. In 1984, PFGE was developed and has ever since been the golden standard for bacterial subtyping and is still widely used by PulseNet. However, following the release of the complete human genome sequence in 2003, whole genome sequencing (WGS) has greatly increased our ability to in a rapid and more reliable way distinguish between epidemiologically unrelated isolates from the same bacterial species and thereby enhance our capacity to detect outbreaks, conduct surveillance and understand or elucidate the epidemiology of certain types or clones.
Methods: Today, several WGS platforms are available on the market, however, all have in common that they determine the nucleotide sequences of millions of DNA stretches present in a sample and combine those into almost complete genomes. By applying computationally bioinformatic tools, scientists are now able to distinguish the bacterial genomes by a few nucleotides. Currently, several research groups are creating various “plug and play” bioinformatic tools enabling an easy access to the identification of various epidemiological markers making WGS the ultimate tool for identification of organisms and related genes. This has the potential for in the developing countries to leapfrog, if they lack behind with conventional methods due to cost and knowledge.
Results: Microbiologists and doctors from around the world could by combining the technology with “plug and play” bioinformatic toolboxes and using an established global genomic database for microorganisms, facilitate a global surveillance in real time with the potential to predict and prevent future public health threats.
Conclusion: Recently, several international meetings have been organised to discuss the possibility of using WGS as diagnostic tool on a global scale. These meetings were attended by scientists and policy makers from around the world. The general conclusion of these meetings was that the technology exists and that the spread in the application should be linked to the establishment of a global genomic database for microorganisms. Thus, the attendees established the initiative; "Global Microbial Identifier” to steer and prepare the vision for the future global real time surveillance of microorganisms.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication10th International Meeting on Microbial Epidemiological Markers (IMMEM-10) - Abstract Book
Number of pages1
Place of PublicationParis, France
Publication date2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Event10th International Meeting on Microbial Epidemiological Markers - Institut Pasteur, Paris, France
Duration: 2 Oct 20135 Oct 2013
Conference number: 10


Conference10th International Meeting on Microbial Epidemiological Markers
LocationInstitut Pasteur
Internet address

Cite this

Hendriksen, R. S. (2013). Genome sequencing - the ultimate answer to global real time genotyping and surveillance? In 10th International Meeting on Microbial Epidemiological Markers (IMMEM-10) - Abstract Book (pp. 43).