Microbial identification is still a challenge. Actual methods like as 16S, multilocus sequence typing (MLST) or Next Gen Sequencing (NGS) have major drawbacks like accuracy (e.g. 16S is unable to sort out closely related species), costs and time (e.g. MLST takes days with relatively high costs, and NGS is no better), but the main issue is that none of these methods is really effective when a mix is under scrutiny.
The biotech company from northern Italy has developed a new family of DNA markers which offers the possibility to differentiate and identify phylogenetically closed bacterial species and subspecies even in mix.
These new markers are effective in differentiating and identifying microorganisms thanks to both sequence (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms - SNPs) and length polymorphism (insertions/deletions). Moreover, these markers share high sequence variability with protein coding genetic markers (e.g. those applied in MLST), that is useful to identify closely related species and subspecies and also to differentiate strains that group together with MLST. Companies working in food and analytical sectors are sought to develop new diagnostic kits and/or use this technology in applications relevant for their businesses, through technical cooperation and licensing agreements.