Slight differences in the make-up of our DNA can have dramatic effects on how we develop, affecting everything from the colour of our eyes to our blood type and shoe size. Genetic variation within a species of bacteria can affect the ability of different strains to invade and infect us. This chart compares the circular genome from different Campylobacter bacterial strains. One strain, called Campylobacter concisus BAA-1457, was taken from a patient with acute gastroenteritis. Its genome (black ring on chart) was compared to seven other bacterial strains (inner rings) to identify which genes they had in common (red indicates a matched gene, light blue indicates no match). Scientists identified the eight numbered regions which were unique to the BAA-1457 genome, including a gene called zot which they believe may have helped this particular bacterial strain to invade the patient’s body.
Written by John Ankers
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