Drug resistance-associated genes: A cornerstone for the control and protection against tuberculosis

September 05, 2013

September 5, 2013, Shenzhen, China - BGI in collaboration with Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and other Chinese institutes, have completed the genome sequencing of 161 Mycobacterium tuberculosis that can cause an infectious disease tuberculosis (TB). The study published online in Nature Genetics provides an invaluable resource for researchers to better understand the genetic basis underlying drug resistance TB.

TB is one of the deadliest infectious diseases. The World Health Organization estimates that one-third of the world's population is infected with M. tuberculosis. Although TB control efforts have made an encouraging 1.3% decline in TB incidence worldwide each year since 2002, drug-resistant TB is still a serious and growing global challenge for treatment. The drug resistance is particularly acute in China, where 5.7% of new TB cases are multidrug-resistant (MDR), and 8% of MDR cases are extensively drug-resistant (XDR).

To understand the drug resistance mechanism from DNA level, Chinese researchers conducted a comprehensive genome-wide study of 161 M. tuberculosis strains with a broad range of resistance profiles (44 drug-sensitive, 94 MDR and 23 XDR isolates). In total, they discovered 72 novel genes, 28 intergenic regions (IGRs), 11 nonsynonymous SNPs and 10 IGR SNPs with strong, consistent associations with drug resistance.

Researchers found that the genetic basis of drug resistance is more complex than previously expected. The identification of new drug resistance-associated genes, IGRs and SNPs provides a nearly complete gene set for studying drug resistance TB. These findings lay a solid foundation for the in-depth investigation of the drug resistance mechanisms in both M. tuberculosis and other bacterial pathogens treated with the same antibiotic regimens.

Dongfang Li, Project manager from BGI, said, "The drug resistance of M. tuberculosis is a very serious problem, especially in China. We expect our breakthrough can shed new insights for exploring the mechanisms of drug resistance, and lay a solid foundation for the control and protection against TB."
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About BGI

BGI was founded in 1999 with the mission of being a premier scientific partner to the global research community. The goal of BGI is to make leading-edge genomic science highly accessible through its investment in infrastructure that leverages the best available technology, economies of scale, and expert bioinformatics resources. BGI, which includes both private non-profit genomic research institutes and sequencing application commercial units, and its affiliates, BGI Americas, headquartered in Cambridge, MA, and BGI Europe, headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, have established partnerships and collaborations with leading academic and government research institutions as well as global biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, supporting a variety of disease, agricultural, environmental, and related applications.

BGI has established a proven track record of excellence, delivering results with high efficiency and accuracy for innovative, high-profile research which has generated over 250 publications in top-tier journals such as Nature and Science. These accomplishments include sequencing one percent of the human genome for the International Human Genome Project, contributing 10 percent to the International Human HapMap Project, carrying out research to combat SARS and German deadly E. coli, playing a key role in the Sino-British Chicken Genome Project, and completing the sequence of the rice genome, the silkworm genome, the first Asian diploid genome, the potato genome, and, most recently, have sequenced the human Gut metagenome, and a significant proportion of the genomes for 1,000 genomes. For more information about BGI please visit http://www.genomics.cn.

Contact Information:

Bicheng Yang, Ph.D.Public Communication Officer
BGI+86-755-82639701yangbicheng@genomics.cn
http://www.genomics.cn

BGI Shenzhen

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