The Genomics and Phylogenetics of Leprosy

Nature Genetics has an interesting research paper on leprosy. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but the PhysOrg.Com summary is fascinating:

There is little doubt that the bacillus originated in East Africa – Stewart Cole will examine this hypothesis in a future study – and then mutated into the four different strains. “The results of our analysis are surprising,” says Cole, “the difference between the different strains is very small. It is one of the most stable organisms ever observed, even if half of its genome is dead.” There are only around a hundred different variations between the DNA of two different strains, whereas with HIV or the flu there may be thousands of difference mutations.

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