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Characterizing Scales of Genetic Recombination and Antibiotic Resistance in Pathogenic Bacteria Using Topological Data Analysis
Kevin J. Emmett, Raul Rabadan
Pathogenic bacteria present a large disease burden on human health. Control of these pathogens is hampered by rampant lateral gene transfer, whereby pathogenic strains may acquire genes conferring resistance to common antibiotics. Here we introduce tools from topological data analysis to characterize the frequency and scale of lateral gene transfer in bacteria, focusing on a set of pathogens of significant public health relevance. As a case study, we examine the spread of antibiotic resistance in Staphylococcus aureus. Finally, we consider the possible role of the human microbiome as a reservoir for antibiotic resistance genes.