Substantial molecular evolution and mutation rates in prolonged latent Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection in humans

Troels Lillebaek, Anders Norman, Erik Michael Rasmussen, Rasmus Lykke Marvig, Dorte Bek Folkvardsen, Åse Bengaard Andersen, Lars Jelsbak

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    The genome of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) of latently infected individuals may hold the key to understanding the processes that lead to reactivation and progression to clinical disease. We report here analysis of pairs of Mtb isolates from putative prolonged latent TB cases. We identified two confirmed cases, and used whole genome sequencing to investigate the mutational processes that occur over decades in latent Mtb. We found an estimated mutation rate between 0.2 and 0.3 over 33 years, suggesting that latent Mtb accumulates mutations at rates similar to observations from cases of active disease.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalInternational Journal of Medical Microbiology
    Issue number7
    Pages (from-to)580-585
    Number of pages6
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • Latent infection
    • Within-host evolution
    • Mutation rate
    • Genome sequencing
    • Pathogen evolution

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