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Genotyping of Francisella tularensis, the Causative Agent of Tularemia

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Francisella tularensis is a facultative, intracellular, zoonotic pathogen and the causative agent of tularemia. Historically, F. tularensis has been subdivided into subspecies on the basis of phenotypic traits, including biochemical reactivity and virulence. More recently, a number of genotypic methods, ranging from relatively insensitive methods to full genome sequencing, have been used to investigate genetic diversity within F. tularensis. These analyses indicate that F. tularensis is a pathogen of low sequence diversity with pair-wise average nucleotide identities >99.2 across subspecies. Nonetheless, genomic rearrangements and sequence deletions exist between and within F. tularensis subspecies, creating polymorphisms detectable by genotyping methods. Genetic subpopulations intermediate to the subspecies and strain level have been identified within F. tularensis subsp. tularensis and F. tularensis subsp. holarctica by several different typing methods. These genetic subpopulations have been associated with differences in disease severity, geographic distribution, and transmission patterns. For example, one F. tularensis subsp. tularensis subpopulation has been found to be significantly associated with mortality in humans. Additionally, genotypic analyses of Francisella spp. have provided information for use in the rational design of strain panels for validation of F. tularensis diagnostic tests. This review provides a guide to the various F. tularensis genotyping methods.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Ume University, Department of Clinical Microbiology, Infectious Diseases and Clinical Bacteriology, and Swedish Defence Research Agency, Division of CBRN Defence and Security, Ume, Sweden. 2: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, Fort Collins, CO.

Publication date: 24 November 2010

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  • The Journal of AOAC INTERNATIONAL publishes refereed papers and reviews in the fields of chemical, biological and toxicological analytical chemistry for the purpose of showcasing the most precise, accurate and sensitive methods for analysis of foods, food additives, supplements and contaminants, cosmetics, drugs, toxins, hazardous substances, pesticides, feeds, fertilizers and the environment available at that point in time. The scope of the Journal includes unpublished original research describing new analytical methods, techniques and applications; improved approaches to sampling, both in the field and the laboratory; better methods of preparing samples for analysis; collaborative studies substantiating the performance of a given method; statistical techniques for evaluating data. The Journal will also publish other articles of general interest to its audience, e.g., technical communications; cautionary notes; comments on techniques, apparatus, and reagents.
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