Lyme disease has been studied by a group of scientists who have mapped out the genetic blueprints of 13 different strains of the bacteria causing it.
The achievement should lead to a better understanding of how genetic variations among strains may result in different courses of illness in people with Lyme disease a skin infection, scientifically known as Borrelia burgdorferi.
The new genetic data is expected to help scientists develop improved ways to diagnose, treat and prevent the disease.
The 13 newly sequenced strains include ones isolated from humans and ticks and represent a range of geographic origins.
Together, the genomes provide a more complete picture of scope of natural variations in the bacteria and the disease it causes.
Claire M. Fraser-Liggett of the University of Maryland School of Medicine led the sequencing and analysis and Steven E. Schutzer of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, initiated the research project.