Introduction From Pregenomics to Postgenomics

Since the publication of the first complete bacterial genome sequence in 1995 [1], the genomes of 226 (GOLD™ Genomes OnLine Database, March 8, 2005) prokar-yotes have been sequenced and published, including three complete genomes from members of the genus Listeria [2, 3]. This tremendous increase in genomic information - especially about pathogenic bacteria - over the past decade has substantially altered our view on bacterial pathogenesis and also resulted in the establishment of sequence-based high-throughput methods in microbial research laboratories worldwide. The present review will briefly summarize the major molecular genetic and biochemical breakthroughs in the analysis of listerial patho-genicity obtained in the pregenomic era as well as recently gathered insights resulting from and based upon the genomic approaches of the last several years.

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