NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — Scientists at the University of Liverpool's Centre for Genomic Research will use UK government funding to sequence and analyze the genomes of a microbe that causes food poisoning and leads to 100 deaths each year.
The CGR researchers have received a grant of £157,000 ($261,000) from the Food Standards Agency to fund the effort, which will focus on analyzing the Campylobacter genome with the aim of better understanding how it gets into the food supply and its transmission routes to humans.
This bacterium is the most common cause of acute bacterial gastroenteritis globally, and in the UK each year it infects around 500,000 people and causes about 21,000 hospital admissions, at a cost of an estimated £784 million, the University of Liverpool said.
The researchers will examine bacterial isolates from fecal samples that were obtained from sick people during two separate time periods more than a decade apart. All of the Campylobacter strains will be sequenced using Illumina's MiSeq platform, and the investigators will extract and analyze multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) data to conduct wider genomic analyses.
In another phase of the research, the investigators plan to use Pacific Biosciences' instruments to conduct long-read sequencing and to construct a comprehensive genome sequence dataset.
The researchers hope to discover variations between the two survey periods, and to use the MLST data to compare the Campylobacter strains from the patients with others from the environment, farm animals, and wildlife.
The CGR investigators expect the project will enhance what is known about the core genome of the Campylobacter bacteria, particularly in relation to human infections. They plan to link genetic variations and SNPs between the strains with other factors and traits, such as how the bacteria survive in the environment or through food processing, clinical outcomes, the intensity of the illness they cause, and the outcomes in patients.
The study is anticipated to last until February 2015.