Caister Academic Press

The Genetic Diversity and Evolution of Francisella tularensis with Comments on Detection by PCR

Authors: Mark K. Gunnell, Byron J. Adams and Richard A. Robison
Abstract: Francisella tularensis has been the focus of much research over the last two decades mainly because of its potential use as an agent of bioterrorism. F. tularensis is the causative agent of zoonotic tularemia and has a worldwide distribution. The different subspecies of F. tularensis vary in their biogeography and virulence, making early detection and diagnosis important in both the biodefense and public health sectors. Recent genome sequencing efforts reveal aspects of genetic diversity, evolution and phylogeography previously unknown for this relatively small organism, and highlight a role for detection by various PCR assays. This review explores the advances made in understanding the evolution and genetic diversity of F. tularensis and how these advances have led to better PCR assays for detection and identification of the subspecies.
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