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Foodborne illness causing bacteria sequenced at LAU

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By Joe Whitworth+

Last updated on 16-Jun-2014 at 14:13 GMT

Picture: LAU. Dr Tokajian and colleagues have analyzed 40 strains of bacteria from patients in Lebanon
Picture: LAU. Dr Tokajian and colleagues have analyzed 40 strains of bacteria from patients in Lebanon

The full genome of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses in Lebanon has been sequenced by scientists at the Lebanese American University (LAU).

The sequencing will help tackle pathogenesis – how bacteria like E. coli can cause illnesses, the resistance to antibiotic treatment, the origin of microbes and their potential to spread in the community, researchers said.

Sima Tokajian, associate professor of microbiology at LAU and her colleagues, analyzed 40 strains of bacteria collected from patients in Lebanon.

The genomes of the bacteria were sequenced at the University of California, Davis’ Jonathan Eisen Lab and LAU has acquired the equipment for about $150,000.

It’s similar to having a puzzle,” said Tokajian. “But the puzzle is already assembled, you break it into pieces and try to put it back again.”

The University of California, Davis is leading the 100K Genome Project with the US Food and Drug Administration's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition alongside Agilent technologies.

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