Genome variation in Mycobacteria

Categories: Current


In the hierarchy of microbial evolution, Mycobacteria represent a distinct group. The genus Mycobacterium contains more than 150 species and 11 sub-species, which are separated in three major groups, that is, M. tuberculosis complex (MTBC) which can cause tuberculosis in humans and animals, M. leprae, the causative agent of Hansen's disease or leprosy, and mycobacteria other than MTBC and M. leprae, collectively referred to as non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM), also known as environmental mycobacteria, residing in soil and in water and can cause pulmonary disease resembling tuberculosis, lymphadenitis, skin disease, or disseminated disease.  M. tuberculosis, the most prominent member of the MTBC, is an obligate human pathogen and the causative agent of tuberculosis (TB), which remains one of the leading global public health problems. To decipher the biology and the evolution of present day mycobacterial species, we are building complete genetic maps of these species using comparative and functional genomics approaches.