The comparative genomics of the zoonotic genus Brucella and development of diagnostic resources for epidemiological tracking of potential bioweapons agents
We sequenced the complete genomes of 20 Brucella strains, representing the known biovars, including marine mammal strains (B. pinnipediae and B. cetaceae), a monkey strain (Brucella sp.), and one live vaccine strain. The analysis of this data resource will allow us to establish the genomic signatures of Brucella virulence and host preference and to begin associating genomic variance with disease presentation. We will also be able to establish the evolution of the pathogen within the genus and related genera.
In addition to the complete genome sequence for these samples, we have also created a comprehensive list of informative SNPs from a subset of field and clinical isolates of strains with heightened bioweaponization potential. This will provide a rational basis for creation of robust molecular identification tools for epidemiological tracking and disease diagnostics.