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Sequencing-Based Approach Helps Map Genetic Interactions in Bacteria

Researchers from the Howard Hughes Medical Research Institute and the Tufts University School of Medicine reported in the advance, online edition of Nature Methods this week that they have come up with a method for identifying genes needed for bacterial survival — and mapping genetic interactions in bacteria — using a combination of jumping genes and high-throughput sequencing.

The team's method, dubbed Tn-seq, uses a transposon library to disrupt sequences in the bacterial genome followed by high-throughput sequencing to track which gene disruptions are deleterious, neutral, or even advantageous. When they applied Tn-seq to Streptococcus pneumoniae, the bug behind conditions such as pneumonia and meningitis, the researchers found that disruptions to around 16 percent of the organism's genes prevented or severely compromised growth.
 
 

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