Microbial markers and uses thereof

Microbial markers and uses

Patent granted: Europe

Patent published: Australia, China, USA, Japan, Canada

This invention relates generally to methods for identifying and/or classifying microbes using one or more single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 16S ribosomal RNA (16S rRNA) of prokaryotes and/or one or more SNPs in 5.8S ribosomal RNA (5.8S rRNA) of eukaryotes. The invention also relates to probes, primers and kits that are useful in the methods of the invention.  In particular, there is a need for a method of broad microbial classification and quantitation of microbes of health significance, such as those that cause sepsis in humans. The present invention is based on the determination that one or more single nucleotide polymorphisms within rRNA genes of bacteria and fungi are unique to Gram-positive bacteria, Gram-negative bacteria or fungi, and in some instances are unique to particular species or groups of species. Based on this determination, the inventors have developed various methods and kits that take advantage of these differentiating SNPs to identify the presence or absence of a bacterium and/or a fungus in a sample, differentiate the bacterium from the fungus, classify the bacterium as Gram-positive or Gram-negative, classify the bacterium as a member of a particular group of pathogens, identify the species of bacterium or identify the bacterium as one of several possible species, and/or identify the species of fungus. In particular instances, the methods and kits also facilitate quantitation of the microorganism in the sample.


  • Richard B Brandon
  • Flavia Huygens (pictured right)

Flavia Huygens is a molecular microbiologist examining how bacteria causes disease