Research Highlight

Identifying species with gene sequences

doi:10.1038/nindia.2011.100 Published online 11 July 2011

Researchers have developed a new method to differentiate species of Streptococcus, an economically important genus of pathogens. They used 16S rRNA gene sequences to provide a useful tool that can be further used for identification of the different species.

A number of species belonging to the genus Streptococcus are pathogens of human and animals. The genus is divided into different groups based on 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity. However, it is difficult to distinguish them since the observed variability among the species is low.

The researchers explored 16S rRNA gene sequences to develop methods that can be used for preliminary identification of these species. These method can supplement the existing methods for identification of clinically-relevant isolates of the genus.

They used a framework based analysis to segregate Streptococcus species previously identified only upto genus level. They confirmed this segregation using species-specific signatures and in-silico restriction enzyme analysis. The researchers were able to identify 43 uncharacterized Streptococcus species using this approach.

The researchers feel that the markers generated by exploring 16S rRNA gene sequences could provide a useful tool for identification of different species of the genus.


  1. Lal, D. et al. Exploring internal features of 16S rRNA gene for identification of clinically relevant species of the genus Streptococcus. Ann. Clin. Microbiol. Antimicrob. doi: 10.1186/1476-0711-10-28 (2011)