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Comparative bacterial genomics

Loman, Nicholas James (2012)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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For the most part, diagnostic clinical microbiology still relies on 19th century ideas and techniques, particularly microscopy and laboratory culture. In this thesis I investigate the utility of a new approach, whole-genome sequencing (WGS), to tackle current issues in infectious disease. I present four studies. The first demonstrates the utility of WGS in a hospital outbreak of Acinetobacter baumannii. The second study uses WGS to examine the evolution of drug resistance following antibiotic treatment. I then explore the use of WGS prospectively during an international outbreak of food-borne Escherichia coli infection, which caused over 50 deaths. The final study compares the performance of benchtop sequencers applied to the genome of this outbreak strain and touches on the issue of whether WGS is ready for routine use by clinical and public health laboratories. In conclusion, through this programme of work, I provide ample evidence that whole-genome sequencing of bacterial pathogens has great potential in clinical and public health microbiology. However, a number of technical and logistical challenges have yet to be addressed before such approaches can become routine.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Penn, Charles and Pallen, Mark J.
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
Department:School of Biosciences
Additional Information:

The thesis incorporates four published articles, which are available at

Subjects:QH426 Genetics
QR180 Immunology
RA Public aspects of medicine
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:2839
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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