Nicole Perna, of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, USA, and colleagues announced the genome sequence of E. coli 0157:H7 in this week's Nature.
E. coli 0157:H7 infects thousands of people each year, and can kill victims in days, often in outbreaks traced to contaminated food. The first outbreak was from hamburgers in 1982; Perna's team sequenced this strain of E. coli, 0157:H7.
The sequence offers clues to how this bug causes disease, and perhaps how it could be stopped.
|1,387 new genes were identified in E. coli 0157:H7 compared with an E. coli laboratory strain|
By comparing 0157:H7's sequence with that of a harmless E. coli cousin used in laboratory research, for example, the team identified 1,387 new genes in the virulent version.
"There is still much to learn about the biology and history of E157:H7, but the sequence and analysis presented by Perna et al. will be an excellent starting-point," says Jonathan A. Eisen of The Institute for Genomic Research, Rockville, Maryland, in an accompanying 'News and Views' article.