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Listeria monocytogenes is a food-borne pathogen with a high mortality rate that has also emerged as a paradigm for intracellular parasitism. We present and compare the genome sequences of L. monocytogenes (2,944,528 base pairs) and a nonpathogenic species, L. innocua (3,011,209 base pairs). We found a large number of predicted genes encoding surface and secreted proteins, transporters, and transcriptional regulators, consistent with the ability of both species to adapt to diverse environments. The presence of 270 L. monocytogenes and 149 L. innocua strain-specific genes (clustered in 100 and 63 islets, respectively) suggests that virulence in Listeria results from multiple gene acquisition and deletion events.
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