The genome of the bacterium Chlamydia uncovers a toxin that's like that produced by other pathogens, so opening up the way to new treatments. The bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis is the cause of silent infections that can lead to blindness and gynaecological conditions. For many years, it's been suspected that the pathogen produces a toxin that helps it invade cells and cause these chronic health problems.
Now, at last, the suspect toxin has been found by completing the Chlamydia genome. The toxin turns out to be similar to those that cause botulism, tetanus, and gangrene. Armed with this information, researchers can now find new ways of breaking Chlamydia's hold - perhaps by developing an anti-toxin vaccine. The research shows the power of the genomic approach. As the pathogens generate genetic secrets in increasing numbers, researchers would find new measures to fight against them.