Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in stable genome regions provide durable measurements of species evolution. We systematically identified each SNP in concatenations of all backbone ORFs in 7 newly or previously sequenced evolutionarily instructive pathogenic Escherichia coli O157:H7, O157:H -, and O55:H7. The 1,113 synonymous SNPs demonstrate emergence of the largest cluster of this pathogen only in the last millennium. Unexpectedly, shared SNPs within circumscribed clusters of organisms suggest severely restricted survival and limited effective population sizes of pathogenic O157:H7, tenuous survival of these organisms in nature, source-sink evolutionary dynamics, or, possibly, a limited number of mutations that confer selective advantage. A single large segment spanning the rfb-gnd gene cluster is the only backbone region convincingly acquired by recombination as O157 emerged from O55. This concatenomic analysis also supports using SNPs to differentiate closely related pathogens for infection control and forensic purposes. However, constrained radiations raise the possibility of making false associations between isolates.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - May 26 2009|
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