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Defining Genomic Sequences Specific to Virulent Vibrio vulnificus Strains to Assess Risk (1998-02757)

Tamplin, Mark
University of Florida
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Vibrio vulnificus is the leading cause of reported human death in the U.S. caused by the consumption of sea foods. Since its discovery, v. vulnificus has had a significant impact on public health policy, food regulations, and industry practices.

Currently, there is no practical test to determine if seafood products contain hazardous strains of v. vulnificus. We propose to solve this problem by defining DNA sequences specific to virulent strains, and then developing simple DNA probe test(s) that can be used by industry and public health organizations to assess risk. We will use two techniques to identify segments of DNA that are unique to virulent strains, 1) by "subtracting" DNA of non-virulent strains from virulent strains, thereby identifying virulent-specific DNA sequences, and 2) by allowing the mouse model to directly select for strains that have acquired DNA sequences from virulent V. vulnificus strains that are randomly cloned into non-virulent strains.

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These approaches will produce virulence-specific gene probe(s) that can be widely used to assess v. vulnificus hazards in seafood products. We anticipate that this information will be integrated in ongoing CDC-FDA-State efforts to determine the epidemiology of V. vulnificus infections and to develop effective interventions to reduce risk of v. vulnificus disease.
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Risk Assessment, Management, and Communication