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Global and regional dissemination and evolution of $\textit{Burkholderia pseudomallei}$

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Chewapreecha, C 
Holden, MTG 
Vehkala, M 
Välimäki, N 
Yang, Z 


The environmental bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei causes an estimated 165,000 cases of human melioidosis per year worldwide and is also classified as a biothreat agent. We used whole genome sequences of 469 B. pseudomalleiisolates from 30 countries collected over 79 years to explore its geographic transmission. Our data point to Australia as an early reservoir, with transmission to Southeast Asia followed by onward transmission to South Asia and East Asia. Repeated reintroductions were observed within the Malay Peninsula and between countries bordered by the Mekong River. Our data support an African origin of the Central and South American isolates with introduction of B. pseudomallei into the Americas between 1650 and 1850, providing a temporal link with the slave trade. We also identified geographically distinct genes/variants in Australasian or Southeast Asian isolates alone, with virulence-associated genes being among those over-represented. This provides a potential explanation for clinical manifestations of melioidosis that are geographically restricted.



Americas, Animals, Asia, Asia, Southeastern, Australia, Burkholderia pseudomallei, DNA, Bacterial, Evolution, Molecular, Asia, Eastern, Humans, Malaysia, Melioidosis, Sequence Analysis, DNA, Virulence

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Nature Microbiology

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Nature Publishing Group
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/M014088/1)
Wellcome Trust (107376/Z/15/Z)
Wellcome Trust (098600/Z/12/Z)
C.C. is a Sir Henry Wellcome post-doctoral Fellow (grant ref: 107376/Z/15/Z). J.C., M.V., Z.Y. were supported by the COIN Centre of Excellence and Z.Y. by a HIIT post-doctoral fellowship. A.E.M. is supported by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council grant BB/M014088/1. B.G.S. was supported by the Wellcome Trust grant WT089472. D.A.B.D and R.P. are supported by the Wellcome Trust grants 106698/Z/14 and B9R00760. D.L. and V.W. are supported by the Wellcome Trust grant 089275/Z/09/Z. M.M. and B.J.C are supported by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council through project grants #1046812 and #1098337. This publication presents independent research supported by the Health Innovation Challenge Fund (WT098600, HICF-T5-342), a parallel funding partnership between the Department of Health and Wellcome Trust.