Ultra-long nanopore reads uniquely demonstrate genome plasticity in Bordetella pertussis

Jonathan Abrahams

Jonathan Abrahams, University of Bath


The paradigm that single nucleotide polymorphisms are the primary metric to judge bacterial diversity is outdated. This is particularly true for the pathogen Bordetella pertussis, which judged solely by this metric, evolves at a ‘glacial’ pace. Our research found, however, that the repeat-rich genome of Bordetella pertussis can no longer be thought of as static but instead, as plastic. Exploiting both Illumina and Oxford Nanopore sequencing, we frequently found structural variants within global cohorts of isolates and single sequence samples, respectively. Our work champions the Oxford Nanopore platform to study structural variations both in Bordetella pertussis and in the wider bacterial kingdom.


Jonathan Is currently a Research Associate at the University of Bath working in the lab of Dr. Andrew Preston. His current research aims to establish phenotypes for a myriad of structural variations in the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. This work stemmed from his Ph.D., which characterised large repertories of structural variants in Bordetella pertussis in addition to describing their instability using long-read sequencing.