From MLVAs to TaqMamas: Reflections on Amerithrax and beyond
Friday seminar by Dr. Matthew Van Ert, VEN Consulting LLC
The 2001 anthrax letter attacks in the United States resulted in five deaths and illustrated the real-world efficacy of Bacillus anthracis as a bioterror agent. The ensuing Amerithrax case has been described as the most complex and expensive investigation in law enforcement history and accelerated the development of the field of microbial forensics. During the investigation, a combination of whole genome sequencing and evolutionary analysis identified rare genomic variation among B. anthracis strains, provided insight on the global transmission and diversity of the pathogen and permitted the development of highly precise diagnostics and forensic assays. This talk will discuss the value of genotypic analysis in forensic and epidemiological.