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High-throughput sequencing and clinical microbiology: progress, opportunities and challenges

Authors
Journal
Current Opinion in Microbiology
1369-5274
Publisher
Elsevier
Volume
13
Issue
5
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.mib.2010.08.003
Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Medicine

Abstract

High-throughput sequencing is sweeping through clinical microbiology, transforming our discipline in its wake. It is already providing an enhanced view of pathogen biology through rapid and inexpensive whole-genome sequencing and more sophisticated applications such as RNA-seq. It also promises to deliver high-resolution genomic epidemiology as the ultimate typing method for bacteria. However, the most revolutionary effect of this ‘disruptive technology’ is likely to be creation of a novel sequence-based, culture-independent diagnostic microbiology that incorporates microbial community profiling, metagenomics and single-cell genomics. We should prepare for the coming ‘technological singularity’ in sequencing, when this technology becomes so fast and so cheap that it threatens to out-compete existing diagnostic and typing methods in microbiology.

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