Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Advances in high-throughput nucleotide sequencing and bioinformatics make the study of genomes at the population level feasible. Preliminary population genomic studies have explored the relationships among three closely related bacteria, Neisseria meningitidis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Neisseria lactamica, which exhibit very different phenotypes with respect to human colonisation. The data obtained have been especially valuable in the establishing of the role of horizontal genetic exchange in bacterial speciation and shaping population structure. In the meningococcus, they have been used to define invasive genetic types, search for virulence factors and potential vaccine components and investigate the effects of vaccines on population structure. These are generic approaches and their application to the Neisseria provides a foretaste for their application to the wider bacterial world.

Original publication




Journal article


Curr Opin Microbiol

Publication Date





467 - 471


Base Sequence, Evolution, Molecular, Gene Transfer, Horizontal, Genetic Variation, Genome, Bacterial, Genomics, Humans, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Neisseria lactamica, Neisseria meningitidis, Recombination, Genetic, Virulence Factors