This project extends upon the previously funded white paper proposal "The comparative genomics of the zoonotic genus Brucella and development of diagnostic resources for epidemiological tracking of potential bioweapons agents."
Despite its global impact on human and animal health, Brucella genetics remained in relative obscurity until the past few years. Data generated as the result of completion of the initial white paper project changed this perspective and now the genus is among the best characterized genomic datasets available. Furthermore, this project has provided a model for the successful interaction of an international group of researchers working collectively to produce publicly available genomic datasets. Through the experience gained during the Brucella project we now know how to approach large sequencing projects for our most important pathogens.
Initial sequence studies have focused almost exclusively on reference strains of the major Brucella species. While this has been incredibly useful, it undoubtedly samples only a small proportion of the extant diversity within the species. Further, the reference strains tend to be historical isolates that do not necessarily represent those currently circulating and causing disease.
A more complete understanding of the current and historical diversity of this important pathogen will:
- lead to a further understanding of the emergence, spread and epidemiology of the organism
- help identify useful markers for diagnostics at both local and international levels
- provide a framework for placing and describing the many emerging novel Brucellaisolates
- provide a valuable resource towards understanding the host specificity and differential virulence of strains
Following a call to the Brucella community, a collection of ~200 isolates and metadata have been gathered. As a whole, they will add substantially to the resources necessary to address the goals listed above, in addition to serving the research interests within the Brucella community.
The isolates include a large collection of geographically and genetically diverse strains of Brucella that will provide an unprecedented look at the global dispersal of this pathogen. On the basis of existing (unpublished) multilocus sequence analysis, strains have been selected that are most likely to be informative for population differentiation and the understanding of the evolutionary history of the genus. Strains include isolates from Eastern Europe and Central Asia, which are currently global hotspots for brucellosis.
Project Data can also be found at NCBI
Please cite all data relating to this initiative (including individual genes and genomes) as:
"Brucella II initiative, Broad Institute (broadinstitute.org)"