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Article

A Rare Glimpse into the Past of the Anthrax Pathogen Bacillus anthracis

1
Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology (IMB), 80937 Munich, Germany
2
Bavarian Natural History Collections (SNSB—Botanische Staatssammlung München), 80638 Munich, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Microorganisms 2020, 8(2), 298; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8020298
Received: 28 January 2020 / Revised: 18 February 2020 / Accepted: 19 February 2020 / Published: 21 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue An Update on Anthrax)
The bacterium Bacillus anthracis is the causative agent of the zoonotic disease anthrax. While genomics of extant B. anthracis isolates established in-depth phylogenomic relationships, there is scarce information on the historic genomics of the pathogen. Here, we characterized the oldest documented B. anthracis specimen. The inactive 142-year-old material originated from a bovine diseased in Chemnitz (Germany) in 1878 and is contemporary with the seminal studies of Robert Koch on B. anthracis. A specifically developed isolation method yielded high-quality DNA from this specimen for genomic sequencing. The bacterial chromosome featuring 242 unique base-characters placed it into a major phylogenetic clade of B. anthracis (B.Branch CNEVA), which is typical for central Europe today. Our results support the notion that the CNEVA-clade represents part of the indigenous genetic lineage of B. anthracis in this part of Europe. This work emphasizes the value of historic specimens as precious resources for reconstructing the past phylogeny of the anthrax pathogen. View Full-Text
Keywords: anthrax; Bacillus anthracis; historic specimen; genome-sequencing; phylogeny anthrax; Bacillus anthracis; historic specimen; genome-sequencing; phylogeny
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MDPI and ACS Style

Braun, P.; Knüpfer, M.; Antwerpen, M.; Triebel, D.; Grass, G. A Rare Glimpse into the Past of the Anthrax Pathogen Bacillus anthracis. Microorganisms 2020, 8, 298. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8020298

AMA Style

Braun P, Knüpfer M, Antwerpen M, Triebel D, Grass G. A Rare Glimpse into the Past of the Anthrax Pathogen Bacillus anthracis. Microorganisms. 2020; 8(2):298. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8020298

Chicago/Turabian Style

Braun, Peter; Knüpfer, Mandy; Antwerpen, Markus; Triebel, Dagmar; Grass, Gregor. 2020. "A Rare Glimpse into the Past of the Anthrax Pathogen Bacillus anthracis" Microorganisms 8, no. 2: 298. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8020298

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