News of the WeekMICROBIAL GENOMICS

First Food-Borne Pathogen Sequenced

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Science  26 Feb 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5406, pp. 1243
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5406.1243

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Summary

Researchers have for the first time sequenced the genome of a food-borne pathogen, the bacterium Campylobacter jejuni. Already the sequence is revealing how the bacterium, which last year caused nearly 300,000 cases of food poisoning in the United States alone, evades the host's immune response and perhaps also how it causes Guillain-Barre's syndrome, a temporarily paralyzing neuromuscular disorder that may be touched off by C. jejuni infections. Indeed, microbiologists predict that in a few years the bacterium will go from being one of the least well-studied pathogens to one of the most well-studied ones.

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