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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Spring 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Biology


The genus Mycobacterium is diverse, ranging from slow-growing human pathogens such as M. tuberculosis to fast-growing saprophytes such as M. smegmatis. M. ulcerans is the causative agent of the neglected disease known as Buruli ulcer, an emerging pathogen first described in Buruli County, Uganda. Antibiotic resistance among Mycobacterial pathogens is growing at an alarming rate and is creating an urgent need for novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. Elucidating the details of virus/host interactions among the mycobacteria and their phages thus has the potential to affect how we think about the role of these bacteria in both clinical and environmental settings. Towards this end, we are analyzing the complete genome sequence of 654 mycobacteriophages isolated on Mycobacterium smegmatis mc2155. Here we report on six novel bacteriophages from Ugandan soil, in addition to three bacteriophages isolated from American soil, and using pairwise nucleotide identity and phamily composition of the genomes work to elucidate the genomic determinants for their ability or inability to infect clinically relevant Mycobacteria, including M. ulcerans and M. tuberculosis.

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