MLST revisited: the gene-by-gene approach to bacterial genomics

Martin C J Maiden, Melissa J Jansen Van Rensburg, James E. Bray, Sarah G. Earle, Suzanne Ford, Keith A. Jolley, Noel D. McCarthy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

388 Citations (Scopus)


Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) was proposed in 1998 as a portable sequence-based method for identifying clonal relationships among bacteria. Today, in the whole-genome era of microbiology, the need for systematic, standardized descriptions of bacterial genotypic variation remains a priority. Here, to meet this need, we draw on the successes of MLST and 16S rRNA gene sequencing to propose a hierarchical gene-by-gene approach that reflects functional and evolutionary relationships and catalogues bacteria 'from domain to strain'. Our gene-based typing approach using online platforms such as the Bacterial Isolate Genome Sequence Database (BIGSdb) allows the scalable organization and analysis of whole-genome sequence data. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)728-736
Number of pages9
JournalNature Reviews Microbiology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes

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