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Abstract. Current genome evolution of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is marked by virtual absence of the lateral gene transfer leading to the clonal population of this species consisting of separate genetic families. Standard typing method of M. tuberculosis (IS6110-RFLP, spoligo- and VNTR-typing) are based on variation of mobile and repetitive elements and provide sufficient strain discrimination for epidemiological purposes such as, estimation of recent transmission versus reactivation of latent tuberculosis, laboratory contamination, mixed infection. At the same time, rapid evolution of some markers may lead to emergence of identical profiles in the non-related strains (homoplasy) due to convergent evolution. Use of different independent markers may help solve this problem. Regularly updated databases are available for global and local analysis and are also important for standardised terminology and designation of the genotypes. Some of the M. tuberculosis genetic families continue to circulate in the limited areas while other families have become omnipresent due to their likely increased transmissibility and pathogeneicity (e.g., Beijing and LAM). The most frequently isolated Russian subvariant Beijing B0/W148 is marked by significantly higher population growth compared to the Russian Beijing population as a whole and hence may be defined as a successful clone in Russia. Recent years revealed higher than previously thought level of genome variation in M. tuberculosis even between related isolates. The whole-genome sequencing may become a useful typing method if its cost is reduced to be similar to that of the traditional typing methods. Accumulation of the data on old and new markers, development and use of new algorithms of their analysis will help to refine our knowledge about evolution of M. tuberculosis and its families, will provide better tools for epidemiological monitoring of the circulating strains on local and global scale.

About the authors

I. V. Mokrousov

ФБУН НИИ эпидемиологии и микробиологии имени Пастера, Санкт-Петербург

Author for correspondence.

д.б.н., ведущий научный сотрудник лаборатории молекулярной микробиологии

197101, Санкт-Петербург, ул. Мира, 14

Russian Federation


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