The application of next generation sequencing technologies has opened the door to a new molecular epidemiology of tuberculosis, in which we can now look at transmission at a resolution not possible before. At the same time, new technical and analytical challenges have appeared, and we are still exploring the wider potential of this new technology. Whole genome sequencing in tuberculosis still requires bacterial cultures. Thus, although whole genome sequencing has revolutionized the interpretation of transmission patterns, it is not yet ready to be applied at the point-of-care. In this chapter, I will review the promises and challenges of genomic epidemiology, as well as some of the new questions that have arisen from the use of this new technology. In addition, I will examine the role of molecular epidemiology within the general frame of global tuberculosis control and how genomic epidemiology can contribute towards the elimination of the disease.


Transmission, genome sequencing, outbreak, mutation rate 



I thank the members of my group for stimulating discussions. Work in my laboratory is supported by the Spanish National Foundation (MINECO SAF2013-43521-R) and the European Research Council (638553-TB-ACCELERATE).


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Biomedicine of Valencia (IBV-CSIC) and CIBER in Epidemiology and Public HealthValenciaSpain

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