Evolutionary genomics of pathogenic bacteria

Trends Microbiol. 2001 Nov;9(11):547-53. doi: 10.1016/s0966-842x(01)02228-4.


Complete genome sequences are now available for multiple strains of several bacterial pathogens and comparative analysis of these sequences is providing important insights into the evolution of bacterial virulence. Recently, DNA microarray analysis of many strains of several pathogenic species has contributed to our understanding of bacterial diversity, evolution and pathogenesis. Comparative genomics has shown that pathogens such as Escherichia coli, Helicobacter pylori and Staphylococcus aureus contain extensive variation in gene content whereas Mycobacterium tuberculosis nucleotide divergence is very limited. Overall, these approaches are proving to be a powerful means of exploring bacterial diversity, and are providing an important framework for the analysis of the evolution of pathogenesis and the development of novel antimicrobial agents.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • Databases, Genetic
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genome, Bacterial*