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Evaluation of whole-genome enrichment and sequencing of T. pallidum from FFPE samples after 75 years

et al. Vincent Zvenigorosky



The recent developments in genomic sequencing have permitted the publication of many new complete genome sequences of Treponema pallidum pallidum, the bacterium responsible for syphilis, which has led to a new understanding of its phylogeny and diversity. However, few archived samples are available, because of the degradability of the bacterium and the difficulties in preservation.

We present a complete genome obtained from a Formalin-Fixed Paraffin-Embedded (FFPE) organ sample from 1947, kept at the Strasbourg Faculty of Medicine. This is the preliminary, proof-of concept study of this collection/biobank of more than 1.5 million FFPE samples and the evaluation of the feasibility of genomic analyses.

We demonstrate here that even degraded DNA from fragile bacteria can be recovered from 75-year-old FFPE samples and therefore propose that such collections as this one can function as sources of biological material for genetic studies of pathogens, cancer, or even the historical human population itself.


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