The National Collection of Type Cultures (NCTC) contributed to the largest genetic study to date of epidemic dysentery caused by Shigella dysenteriae. The results demonstrate the value of comparing the genomes of historical and modern bacterial strains to provide insight into the global spread of human pathogens.
Led by scientists in the Institute Pasteur and Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, this international collaborative study analysed the genomes of 330 strains of S.dysenteriae type 1, isolated between 1915 and 2011, including 14 strains from NCTC’s historical Murray Collection of Enterobacteriaceae.
This research, published in the journal Nature Microbiology, indicates that epidemic dysentery, which remains a scourge in Asia and Africa, probably originated in Europe. It also charts the development of the pathogen’s resistance to antibiotics.
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