Molecular applications for identifying microbial pathogens in the post-9/11 era

Thomas A. Cebula, Eric W. Brown, Scott A. Jackson, Mark K. Mammel, Amit Mukherjee, J. Eugene LeClerc

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Rapid advances in molecular and optical technologies over the past 10 years have dramatically impacted the way biologic research is conducted today. Examples include microarrays, capillary sequencing, optical mapping and real-time sequencing (Pyrosequencing). These technologies are capable of rapidly delivering massive amounts of genetic information and are becoming routine mainstays of many laboratories. Fortunately, advances in scientific computing have provided the enormous computing power necessary to analyze these enormous data sets. The application of molecular technologies should prove useful to the burgeoning field of microbial forensics. In the post-9/11 era, when securing America's food supply is a major endeavor, the need for rapid identification of microbes that accidentally or intentionally find their way into foods is apparent. The principle that distinguishes a microbial forensic investigation from a molecular epidemiology study is that a biocrime has been committed. If proper attribution is to be attained, a link must be made between a particular microbe in the food and the perpetrator who placed it there. Therefore, the techniques used must be able to discriminate individual isolates of a particular microbe. A battery of techniques in development for distinguishing individual isolates of particular foodborne pathogens is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-445
Number of pages15
JournalExpert Review of Molecular Diagnostics
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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