Invited Commentary |

The Time Is Now for Gene- and Genome-Based Bacterial Diagnostics:  “You Say You Want a Revolution”

Garth D. Ehrlich, PhD1,2; J. Christopher Post, MD, PhD1,2
[+] Author Affiliations
1Center for Genomic Sciences, Allegheny-Singer Research Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
2Departments of Microbiology and Immunology and Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Drexel University College of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(15):1405-1406. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.7042.
Text Size: A A A
Published online


Clinical microbiology is poised to move into a dynamic age by embracing molecular diagnostic techniques, such as polymerase chain reaction–based amplification techniques and whole-genome sequencing (WGS). These technologies will revolutionize data acquisition for theranostics and the tracking of outbreaks.

Whole-genome sequencing originally proved its worth through investigations of infectious agents.1 In this issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, Reuter et al2 now advocate WGS for routine diagnostics and public health microbiology. These ideas are not as far-fetched as they may initially sound. Although the cost and time to conduct WGS would have once been prohibitive, a bacterial WGS can be performed for less than $100 in 1 day’s time. Moreover, the computational systems for performing the analytics on the WGS data allow for rapid turnaround times. Collectively, these metrics make WGS competitive with any technology, including traditional methods of culturing bacteria. Although there are no commercial WGS analytics that could integrate with standard laboratory information systems now, such tools will be developed that can access cloud-based computing resources containing global strain databases annotated with respect to clinical origins, spread, and associated symptoms.

Sign In to Access Full Content

Don't have Access?

Register and get free email Table of Contents alerts, saved searches, PowerPoint downloads, CME quizzes, and more

Subscribe for full-text access to content from 1998 forward and a host of useful features

Activate your current subscription (AMA members and current subscribers)

Purchase Online Access to this article for 24 hours

First Page Preview

View Large
First page PDF preview





Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).
Submit a Comment


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Sign In to Access Full Content

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

See Also...
Articles Related By Topic
Related Topics
PubMed Articles