Phylogeography of Lyme borreliosis-group spirochetes and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus

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Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and multilocus sequence analysis (MLSA) have revolutionized understanding the global epidemiology of many medically relevant bacteria utilizing a number, mostly seven, of housekeeping genes. A more recent introduction, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), constitutes an even more powerful tool for bacterial typing, population genetic studies and phylogeography. The introduction of massive parallel sequencing has made genome re-sequencing and SNP discovery more economical for investigations of microbial organisms. In this paper we review phylogeographic studies on Lyme borreliosis (LB)-group spirochetes and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Members of the LB-group spirochetes are tick-transmitted zoonotic bacteria that have many hosts and differ in their degree of host specialism, constituting a highly complex system. MRSA is a directly transmitted pathogen that may be acquired by contact with infected people, animals or MRSA-contaminated objects. For the LB-group spirochetes, MLSA has proved a powerful tool for species assignment and phylogeographic investigations while for S. aureus, genome-wide SNP data have been used to study the very short-term evolution of two important MRSA lineages, ST239 and ST225. These data are detailed in this review.

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