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Corresponding authorE-mail tread@emory.edu

We thank Fergus Priest, Margaret Barker, Phyllis Martin, Teddi Shropshire, Ole Andreas Økstad, Anne-Brit Kolstø, and Michel Gohar for sharing strains.

We thank Kent Lohman, Patricia Reilly, and members of the 454 Service Center for their help and advice in completing this manuscript.

Brian Osborne helped with submission of data to NCBI.

Cheryl Timms Strauss edited the manuscript.

Roche Diagnostics Asia Pacific, Singapore, 168730

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the U.S. Department of the Navy, U.S. Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government

Some of the authors are employees of the U.S. Government, and this work was prepared as part of their official duties.

Title 17 USC §105 provides that “Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government.”

Title 17 USC §101 defines a U.S. Government work as a work prepared by a military service member or employee of the U.S. Government as part of that person's official duties.


Research Funding:

This work was supported by a contract to 454 Life Sciences, Inc., from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and by grant TMTI0068_07_NM_T from the Joint Science and Technology Office for Chemical and Biological Defense (JSTO-CBD), Defense Threat Reduction Agency Initiative, to T.D.R.

Genomic characterization of the Bacillus cereus sensu lato species: Backdrop to the evolution of Bacillus anthracis

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Journal Title:

Genome Research


Volume 22, Number 8


, Pages 1512-1524

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


The key genes required for Bacillus anthracis to cause anthrax have been acquired recently by horizontal gene transfer. To understand the genetic background for the evolution of B. anthracis virulence, we obtained high-redundancy genome sequences of 45 strains of the Bacillus cereus sensu lato (s.l.) species that were chosen for their genetic diversity within the species based on the existing multilocus sequence typing scheme. From the resulting data, we called more than 324,000 new genes representing more than 12,333 new gene families for this group. The core genome size for the B. cereus s.l. group was ∼1750 genes, with another 2150 genes found in almost every genome constituting the extended core. There was a paucity of genes specific and conserved in any clade. We found no evidence of recent large-scale gene loss in B. anthracis or for unusual accumulation of nonsynonymous DNA substitutions in the chromosome; however, several B. cereus genomes isolated from soil and not previously associated with human disease were degraded to various degrees. Although B. anthracis has undergone an ecological shift within the species, its chromosome does not appear to be exceptional on a macroscopic scale compared with close relatives.

Copyright information:

© 2012, Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/).

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