Analysis of bacterial metagenomes from the Southwestern Gulf of Mexico for pathogens detection

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Abstract

Little is known about the diversity of bacteria in the Southwestern Gulf of Mexico. The aim of the study illustrated in this perspective was to search for the presence of bacterial pathogens in this ecosystem, using metagenomic data recently generated by the Mexican research group known as the Gulf of Mexico Research Consortium. Several genera of bacteria annotated as pathogens were detected in water and sediment marine samples. As expected, native and ubiquitous pathogenic bacteria genera such as Burkolderia, Halomonas, Pseudomonas, Shewanella and Vibrio were highly represented. Surprisingly, non-native genera of public health concern were also detected, including Borrelia, Ehrlichia, Leptospira, Mycobacterium, Mycoplasma, Salmonella, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus and Treponema. While there are no previous metagenomics studies of this environment, the potential influences of natural, anthropogenic and ecological factors on the diversity of putative pathogenic bacteria found in it are reviewed. The taxonomic annotation herein reported provides a starting point for an improved understanding of bacterial biodiversity in the Southwestern Gulf of Mexico. It also represents a useful tool in public health as it may help identify infectious diseases associated with exposure to marine water and ingestion of fish or shellfish, and thus may be useful in predicting and preventing waterborne disease outbreaks.

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