With outbreaks of E. coli sickening people in Germany, cholera in Haiti, and other infections in local areas, researchers are turning to sequencing to understand these microbes, reports Gina Kolata in The New York Times. She draws on the example of a patient who died in Houston from what looked like anthrax. By sequencing the bacteria, James Musser and his colleagues determined it was Bacillus cereus, not Bacillus anthracis. There are other cases in which researchers are turning to sequencing, Kolata notes, pointing to a separate article in the Times . Hendrik Poinar from McMaster University in Ontario and his colleagues turned to sequencing to determine whether Yersinia pestis was behind the Black Death. As they report in PNAS, they gathered bones and other samples from a cemetery created for London plague victims as well as from non-plague victims to find that it indeed was.
Paul de Kruif Would Be Proud
Aug 30, 2011