Global phylogeny of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex based on whole genomes. Comas et al. Nat. Genet. (2013)

At the Tuberculosis Genomics Unit (TGU) we combine evolutionary, epidemiological, functional and genomic analyses to understand the biology of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex, and particularly the causative agents of human tuberculosis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium africanum. Furthermore, as the bacillus cannot be understood without the host we are also moving towards integrated host-pathogen “omics” approaches. Our final aim is to find new ways to fight the disease.


Comas I. & Gagneux S. PloS Pathogens (2009) and Comas I. & Gagneux S. Trends in Microbiology (2011)

We work in a unique environment in the interface between clinical and basic science. We therefore collaborate with clinical microbiology units and public health authorities to design new ways to control the spread of the disease. At the same time we collaborate with groups experts in many disciplines to elucidate the genetic determinants of M. tuberculosis virulence. We think that one of the ways to find those determinants is to understand how, when and where the genetic diversity of the bacilli appears and the evolutionary forces behind it. In this way we have been able to make important contributions to describe the global genomic diversity of the bacilli and its relationship with the immune system, the evolution of drug resistance and the changing human populations.


Topology of a transmission cluster and diversity within a patient based on next gneration sequencing, Pérez-Lago et al. (2013)

Currently we are starting new lines of research on:

  1. Evolution of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis Complex
  2. Genomic epidemiology of M. tuberculosis
  3. Integration of genomic information in eHealth systems
  4. Next generation sequencing approaches applied to clinical microbiology
  5. Microbiome studies in the context of respiratory diseases
  6. Evolutionary systems biology
  7. Evolution of drug resistance

Compensatory mutations to rifampicin resistance fitness cost map to the rpoA and rpoC subunits of the polymerase. Comas I. et al. Nat. Genet. (2012)

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