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Software Improves Ability to Catalog Bacterial Pathogens


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DNA of bacteria

Credit: TechieTonic

Washington State University (WSU) researchers have developed a software tool that can track, manage, analyze, and catalogue the short, repeating sequences of bacterial DNA. The team developed RepeatAnalyzer while working to characterize Anaplasma marginale, a tick-borne bacteria that affects cattle, which was found to have more than 235 short, repeating DNA sequences. The researchers had to mine published literature to track repeating sequences because there was no database for A. marginale, and the task is error prone when done manually.

The team developed the software to bridge the gap in collecting and handling the dataset for A. marginale. "When you have a tool, and the right metrics and analysis, you may find things you might not have known before," says WSU professor Assefaw Gebremedhin. The team says the software can be extended to any other species with similar repeating DNA sequences.

RepeatAnalyzer also includes a visualization function that enables researchers to track strains on a world map. "This reliable software tool can fuel research and collaboration and accelerate the path to the discovery of a vaccine," Gebremedhin says.

From Washington State University
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