An Introductory Narrative to the Population Genomics of Pathogenic Bacteria, Exemplified by Neisseria meningitidis
The ability to study populations of bacteria, rather than individual isolates from cases of disease, represented a step change in our understanding of the bacterial pathogenesis. The last few decades of the twentieth century and the first two of the twenty-first century saw the development of conceptual, technical, and analytical approaches that enabled the development of first bacterial population genetics and then bacterial population genomics, with the study of pathogens in the forefront of this development. These investigations have enabled the diversity of bacterial pathogen lifestyles to be revealed, including details of their ecology and evolution. Studies of the pathogenic Neisseria and specifically Neisseria meningitidis were in the forefront of these developments, driven in part because of the complexities of the pathobiology of this organism. In addition to insights into the biology of the meningococcus, these studies have provided insights into bacterial population genomics generally, provided a number of broadly applicable techniques, and had major impacts on understanding and controlling meningococcal disease with vaccination.
KeywordsEpidemiology Evolution Meningococcus MLST Vaccination
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