Genomic Sequencing of an Atteexploring and Understanding Yersinia Pestis Evolutionary Diversity Through Whole Genome Sequencing Nuated Yersinia Pestis Strain Implicated in the Death of a Researcher


The genomes of eight additional Yersinia pestis strains and one Yersinia pseudotuberculosis strain are being sequenced to complement the seven Y. pestis genomes and single Y. pseudotuberculosis genome known to be finished or at a draft stage. Owing to the critical importance of these organisms, additional sequence information is important for examining variation in virulence phenotype at the level of individual polymorphisms. Y. pestis Angola, an atypical biovar Antiqua strain, has genotypic similarities intermediate between typical Y. pestis and Y. pseudotuberculosis strains, and is the oldest Y. pestis strain analyzed to date. The Angola strain is being sequenced to closure, as is Y. pseudotuberculosis IP31758, a strain isolated from a patient with Far East scarlet-like fever (FESLF). Additionally, seven other Y. pestis isolates representing the Orientalis, Antiqua, and Mediavalis biovars are being sequenced to draft coverage. The additional sequence data obtained from this important pathogen will add to our knowledge of the biology, evolution, and microevolution of the organism, and will aid in forensic analysis by setting up the basis for an accurate and robust typing system.

Isolate Selection

Strain selection was performed after consultation with the Advisory Committee, which is composed of prominent Y. pestis scientists, as well as different agencies funding similar projects. We are sequencing to completion two organisms as well as 8X coverage a total of seven additional strains from various biovars. This data will allow for discovery of polymophisms that could be used to develop robust and accurate typing systems.


Scott Bearden
Martin Schriefer
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Elisabeth Carniel
Insitut Pasteur, Paris, France

Paul Keim
Northern Arizona University

Luther Lindler
Department of Homeland Security

David A. Rasko
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Jacques Ravel
Institute for Genome Sciences, University of Maryland School of Medicine

M.J. Rosovitz
Midwest Research Institute

Patricia Worsham
U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases

Ruifu Yang
Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology, Academy of Military Medical Sciences, China

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