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Tuesday, March 21, 2000

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Bioresearch Online TIGR Reports Complete Genome of Two Chlamydia Strains
"In the first publication of two complete genomes, scientists at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR; Rockville, MD) report the DNA sequence of the Chlamydia trachomatis MoPn and Chlamydia pneumoniae AR39 genomes in the current issue of Nucleic Acid Research. These findings complement recently published Chlamydia genomes completed at Stanford University, and could provide new insight into the genes responsible for causing a range of serious human infections."

"The C. trachomatis strain sequenced by TIGR is infectious in mice, while the Stanford strain causes human sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Nonetheless, there were very few differences in the genomes of the two bacteria. Comparison of the two strains might reveal those genes that contribute to the human Chlamydial infection, which could be applied to developing vaccines and therapeutics. One strain similar to a toxin found in E. coli O157:H7—the food-poisoning bug. The significance of this is not presently known. The toxin was not found in the human STD strain.

The genomes of C. pneumoniae sequenced by TIGR and Stanford were extremely similar—providing evidence that one extremely successful clone of the bacterium has infected a large proportion of the human population. However, small differences between the genomes may help explain individual variation in the severity of disease in patients infected with C. pneumoniae."

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Bioinformatics will be at the core of biology in the 21st century. In fields ranging from structural biology to genomics to biomedical imaging, ready access to data and analytical tools are fundamentally changing the way investigators in the life sciences conduct research and approach problems. Complex, computationally intensive biological problems are now being addressed and promise to significantly advance our understanding of biology and medicine. No biological discipline will be unaffected by these technological breakthroughs.


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