Multi-locus sequence typing: a tool for global epidemiology

Trends Microbiol. 2003 Oct;11(10):479-87. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2003.08.006.


The characterization of pathogenic isolates plays a pivotal role in the epidemiology of infectious diseases, generating the information necessary for identifying, tracking, and intervening against disease outbreaks. In 1998 multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) was proposed as a nucleotide sequence-based approach that could be applied to many bacterial pathogens. It combined developments in high-throughput sequencing and bioinformatics with established population genetics techniques to provide a portable, reproducible, and scalable typing system that reflected the population and evolutionary biology of bacterial pathogens. MLST schemes have been developed for a variety of procaryotic and eucaryotic pathogens and the data generated have contributed to both epidemiological surveillance and fundamental studies of pathogen biology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / classification*
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / pathogenicity
  • Bacterial Infections / epidemiology*
  • Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • Bacterial Typing Techniques*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA / methods*