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Sequence-based detection and typing procedures for Burkholderia mallei: Assessment and prospects

Although glanders has been eradicated in most of the developed world, the disease still persists in various countries such as Brazil, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Iran, Bahrain, UAE and Turkey. It is one of the notifiable diseases listed by the World Organization for Animal Health. Occurrence of glanders imposes restriction on equestrian events and restricts equine movement, thus causing economic losses to equine industry. The genetic diversity and global distribution of the causing agent, Burkholderia (B.) mallei, have not been assessed in detail and are complicated by the high clonality of this organism. Among the identification and typing methods, PCR-based methods for distinguishing B. mallei from its close relative B. pseudomallei as well as genotyping using tandem repeat regions (MLVA) are established. The advent and continuous advancement of the sequencing techniques, the reconstruction of closed genomes enables the development of genome guided epidemiological tools. For achieving a higher genomic resolution, genotyping methods based on whole genome sequencing data can be employed, like genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms. One of the limitations in obtaining complete genomic sequences for further molecular characterisation of B. mallei is its high GC content.
In this review, we aim to provide an overview of the widely used detection and typing methods for B. mallei and illustrate gaps that still require development. The genomic features of Burkholderia, their high homology and clonality will be first described from a comparative genomics perspective. Then, the commonly used molecular detection (PCR systems) and typing systems (e.g. multilocus sequence typing, variable number of tandem repeat analysis) will be presented and put in perspective with recently developed genomic methods. Also, the increasing availability of B. mallei genomic sequences and evolution of the sequencing methods offers exciting prospects for further refinement of B. mallei typing, that could overcome the difficulties presently encountered with this particular bacterium.



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