2011-10-07Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.1016/j.ijmm.2011.09.007
From types to trees: Reconstructing the spatial spread of Staphylococcus aureus based on DNA variation
Tracing the spatial spread of pathogens is a key objective of molecular infectious disease epidemiology. Accordingly, a wide range of genotyping approaches have been used to monitor the dissemination of Staphylococcus aureus strains, from localized outbreaks to global spread. We provide a critical review of available methods, revealing that molecular markers currently in use for typing S. aureus acquire changes so slowly that they monitor evolutionary change over timescales that are largely irrelevant to epidemiology. Moreover, the more variable markers frequently do not reflect the pathogen's evolutionary history and, hence, provide potentially misleading information about spread. More recent work has demonstrated that staphylococcal evolution proceeds sufficiently fast that the dynamics of S. aureus spatial spread can be elucidated at great detail on the basis of genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphisms.
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