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Keywords:

  • DNA fingerprinting;
  • Multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeats analysis;
  • Pathogenic bacteria;
  • Review

Abstract

DNA fingerprinting has attracted considerable interest as means for identifying, tracing and preventing the dissemination of infectious agents. Various methods have been developed for typing of pathogenic bacteria, which differ in discriminative power, reproducibility and ease of interpretation. During recent years a typing method, which uses the information provided by whole genome sequencing of bacterial species, has gained increased attention. Short sequence repeat (SSR) motifs are known to undergo frequent variation in the number of repeated units through cellular mechanisms most commonly active during chromosome replication. A class of SSRs, named variable number of tandem repeats (VNTRs), has proven to be a suitable target for assessing genetic polymorphisms within bacterial species. This review attempts to give an overview of bacterial agents where VNTR-based typing, or multiple-locus variant-repeat analysis (MLVA) has been developed for typing purposes, together with addressing advantages and drawbacks associated with the use of tandem repeated DNA motifs as targets for bacterial typing and identification.