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Bacterial pathogens of man

Part 2. Genomics

2.5. Bacteria and Other Pathogens

Introductory Review

  1. Julian Parkhill

Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047001153X.g205109

Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics

Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics

How to Cite

Parkhill, J. 2005. Bacterial pathogens of man. Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics. 2:2.5:49.

Author Information

  1. The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2005


Bacterial pathogens of man can be found in a number of different phylogenetic groups of bacteria, although their distribution amongst all the known genera of prokaryotes is somewhat patchy, and there is still a great deal of debate as to whether there are any pathogenic archaea. Genomic study of these pathogens has begun to identify some common themes amongst these organisms, but none that are truly universal, and has also served to underline the diversity of mechanisms utilized for virulence and host interaction. Comparative genomic analysis has also begun to indicate the different mechanisms by which these organisms may have evolved their specific interactions with the human host. Bacterial pathogenicity is not a discrete state, and these interactions can range from commensalism, where the disease outcome is accidental, through occasional, opportunistic pathogenicity in a generalist organism, to specialist pathogens that are dependent on the host. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that organisms can move between these categories over the course of evolution.


  • pathogenicity;
  • evolution;
  • pathogen;
  • genomic island;
  • pathogenicity island;
  • decay;
  • genome comparison;
  • virulence