Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Emily Singer

A View from Emily Singer

Sequencing Killer E. Coli Reveals New Strain

New sequencing technology quickly reveals deadly traits in the microbe responsible for German outbreak.

  • June 3, 2011

Analysis of the genome sequence of the strain of E. coli responsible for the deadly outbreak in Germany revealed that it is “an entirely new super-toxic E. coli strain,” according to BGI-Shenzhen, a DNA sequencing center in China. Both BGI and University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf announced they had assembled a draft of the organism’s genome on Thursday, using sequencing technology from Ion Torrent, a start-up that was acquired by genomics giant Life Technologies.

Ion Torrent’s desktop sequencer, which went on the market just a few months ago, is distinguished by its speed; it can sequence a sample of DNA in a couple of hours, rather than the week or more required by most of the machines now on the market. “We were able to provide the data in record time to University Hospital Muenster,” said Life Technologies’ Simone Guenther, in a report from the company. “In previous outbreaks it would have taken much longer to reach this stage.”

According to Life Technologies, sequencing data shows “the presence of genes typically found in two different types of E. coli: enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC) and enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC). These results […] may provide insight into this bacterium’s aggressiveness and help prevent further outbreaks.” The EAEC 55989 E. coli strain was originally isolated in the Central African Republic and has been linked to serious diarrhea.

The new strain “has also acquired specific sequences that appear to be similar to those involved in the pathogenicity of hemorrhagic colitis and hemolytic-uremic syndrome,” according to a release from BGI. “The analysis further showed that this deadly bacterium carries several antibiotic resistance genes, including resistance to aminoglycoside, macrolides and Beta-lactam antibiotics: all of which makes antibiotic treatment extremely difficult.”

BGI and collaborators are also developing diagnostic kits to help quickly detect the deadly strain.

Get stories like this before anyone else with First Look.

Subscribe today
Already a Premium subscriber? Log in.

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

More from Rewriting Life

Reprogramming our bodies to make us healthier.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe and become an Insider.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Bimonthly print magazine (6 issues per year)

    Bimonthly digital/PDF edition

    Access to the magazine PDF archive—thousands of articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips

    Special interest publications

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Special discounts to select partner offerings

    Ad-free web experience

  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Bimonthly print magazine (6 issues per year)

  • Insider Online Only {! insider.prices.online !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Unlimited online access including articles and video, plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.