Authors: Kimberley Ndungu, Future Science Group
Researchers at the Wellcome Sanger Institute (Cambridge, UK), London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (London, UK) and collaborators have identified Clostridium difficile genetic changes that allow it to thrive on the Western sugar-rich diet and evade common hospital disinfectants.
The largest ever genomic study of C. difficile, published in Nature Genetics, discovered how bacteria can evolve into a new species and demonstrated that C. difficile is responding to human behaviour as it continues to evolve.
Researchers collected and cultured 906 strains of C. difficile isolated from humans, animals and the environment in order to understand how this bacterium is evolving. By sequencing the DNA of each strain and comparing genome analysis, the researchers discovered that C. difficile is evolving into two species.