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ARS, Maryland Research Firm Sequences Genome of Listeria

Monday, June 11, 2001

USDA last week announced that researchers have examined the genetic makeup of Listeria, a bacterium known to cause food-borne illness.
USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) in Rockville, Md., collaborated in an effort to understand the genetic makeup of a Listeria monocytogenes serotype 4b strain. The strain was chosen for the project because most food-borne listeriosis outbreaks and 50 percent of sporadic cases are caused by this strain.
In the initial phase, researchers examined individual fragments of the genome. Next, researchers will assemble the fragments into a complete genomic map of the bacterium. Researchers hope the sequencing of the Listeria will foster understanding of how the bacterium affects people and how it persists in animals, in and on foods and in food processing plants.

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