Identification of genomic signatures for the design of assays for the detection and monitoring of anthrax threats

Pac Symp Biocomput. 2005:248-59.


Sequences that are present in a given species or strain while absent from or different in any other organisms can be used to distinguish the target organism from other related or un-related species. Such DNA signatures are particularly important for the identification of genetic source of drug resistance of a strain or for the detection of organisms that can be used as biological agents in warfare or terrorism. Most approaches used to find DNA signatures are laboratory based, require a great deal of effort and can only distinguish between two organisms at a time. We propose a more efficient and cost-effective bioinformatics approach that allows identification of genomic fingerprints for a target organism. We validated our approach using a custom microarray, using sequences identified as DNA fingerprints of Bacillus anthracis. Hybridization results showed that the sequences found using our algorithm were truly unique to B. anthracis and were able to distinguish B. anthracis from its close relatives B. cereus and B. thuringiensis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anthrax / prevention & control*
  • Bacillus anthracis / classification
  • Bacillus anthracis / genetics*
  • Bacillus anthracis / isolation & purification
  • Bioterrorism / prevention & control*
  • DNA Fingerprinting
  • Databases, Nucleic Acid
  • Humans
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length
  • United States