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is an obligate intracellular bacterium which is carried by ticks of the
genus Amblyomma. It infects
sub-Saharan Africa, and in parts of the
Caribbean, and causes a rapidly fatal disease known as heartwater.
Heartwater leads to serious economic losses wherever it is endemic, and there is no effective vaccine against the disease. We sequenced the genome of the organism in order to facilitate a search for genes which will be suitable for incorporation into a recombinant vaccine.
The circular genome is 1,516,355 bp in length and codes for 888 proteins and 41 stable RNA species. Only 62% of the genome is predicted to be coding sequence, and there are many tandemly repeated and duplicated sequences, some of continuously variable copy number. The repeats appear to be contributing to ongoing evolution of the genome by generating new genes.
|University of Pretoria||Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute|