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A review of published spoligotype data indicates the diversity of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from India is under-represented in global databases.

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Poonawala, Husain 
Kumar, Narender 
Peacock, Sharon J 


BACKGROUND: Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTBC) lineages differ in clinical presentation, virulence, transmission, drug resistance and immunological responses. Despite having the largest burden of tuberculosis (TB) in the world, strains from India are underrepresented in international databases. We reviewed published spoligotype data to determine the distribution and diversity of MTBC lineages in India. METHODS: A Pubmed/MEDLINE search identified 34 M. tuberculosis spoligotyping studies from India. Spoligotype patterns were extracted and the Spoligotype International Type (SIT) number, sub-lineage and lineage determined. Minimum Spanning Trees were used to determine relationships between patterns. RESULTS: We identified 1528 spoligotype patterns distributed across 8300 isolates; 6733 isolates belonged to 472 SITs, with 53% of all isolates belonging to 12 SITs with at least 100 isolates each. Lineage 1 and Lineage 3 made up 67% of all isolates, although a lineage could not be assigned for 16% of isolates. Lineage 1 isolates were most common in Southern, Western and Eastern India, and Lineage 3 was most common in Northern and Central India. The RULE, CBN and KBBN lineage prediction algorithms from the TB-lineage tools performed variably, with the correct lineage predicted correctly for only 64% of patterns with known lineage. Using a consensus definition, 64% of the 1359 isolates with unknown lineage were assigned to Lineage 1, and 14% each were assigned to Lineages 3 and 4. With these lineage assignments, 80% of all isolates belonged to either Lineage 1 or Lineage 3. CONCLUSION: Our findings indicate significant M. tuberculosis diversity in India. The documentation of 1056 orphan and unreported patterns indicate that this diversity is under-represented in global databases.



India, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Spoligotype, Strain diversity, Algorithms, Bacterial Typing Techniques, Humans, India, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Phylogeny, Tuberculosis

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Infect Genet Evol

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Elsevier BV
Medical Research Council (MR/N501864/1)