Staphylococcus aureus is a major human pathogen and an important cause of livestock infections. The first S. aureus genomes to be published, 15 years ago, provided the first view of genome structure and gene content. Since then, thousands of genomes from a wide array of strains from different sources have been sequenced. Comparison of these sequences has resulted in broad insights into population structure, bacterial evolution, clone emergence and expansion, and the molecular basis of niche adaptation. Furthermore, this information is now being applied clinically in outbreak investigations to inform infection control measures and to determine appropriate treatment regimens. In this review, we summarize some of the broad insights into S. aureus biology gained from the analysis of genomes and discuss future directions and opportunities in this dynamic field of research.
Keywords: MRSA; Staphylococcus aureus; genome; host range; pathogenesis.