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Seminar: LINbase: a New Web Tool for Precise Genome-Based Identification of Bacteria

Boris Vinatzer, Ph.D., Professor, School of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech
Boris Vinatzer IMAGE: PROVIDED

Boris Vinatzer IMAGE: PROVIDED

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February 11, 2019, 3:35 PM - 4:30 PM

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Plant pathogenic bacteria are very challenging to classify because many pathogens of many different plants are very closely related to each other and to non-pathogens. This variation of pathogenicity often occurs within the delimitations of what is generally considered a single bacterial species. Therefore, simply applying current taxonomic practices to plant pathogenic bacteria is not possible. Plant pathologists have used various species-specific fixes to solve this problem by introducing intra-specific classes such as pathovars, phylotypes, and sequevars. In this talk, I will introduce a pragmatic solution to this challenge: a web tool that allows users to precisely circumscribe any phylogenetic group of bacteria and to precisely identify any unknown bacterium as a member of these groups. The web tool, LINbase, is built on the concept of Life Identification Numbers (LINs), which are assigned to individual bacterial strains and which precisely express the genomic similarity between bacteria. While LINbase addresses the taxonomic challenges of plant pathogenic bacteria, it can be equally used for any bacterial group, be it an environmental bacterium, an animal pathogen, or human pathogen.