Genomics of Bacillus Species

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Abstract

Members of the genus Bacillus are rod-shaped spore-forming bacteria belonging to the Firmicutes, the low G+C gram-positive bacteria. The Bacillus genus was first described and classified by Ferdinand Cohn in Cohn (1872), and Bacillus subtilis was defined as the type species (Soule, 1932). Several Bacilli may be linked to opportunistic infections. However, pathogenicity among Bacillus spp. is mainly a feature of bacteria belonging to the Bacillus cereus group, including B. cereus, Bacillus anthracis, and Bacillus thuringiensis. Here we review the genomics of B. cereus group bacteria in relation to their roles as etiological agents of two food poisoning syndromes (emetic and diarrhoeal).