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sector_ico_Health_trans Human Health

Comparative and Functional Genomics of the Human Pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans

  • Project Leaders: James Kronstad
  • Institutions: University of British Columbia (UBC)
  • Budget: $2158558
  • Program/Competition: Large Scale Competitions
  • Genome Centre(s): Genome Canada
  • Status: Closed

Cryptococcus gattii (formerly known as C. neoformans var gattii and C. bacillosporus), emerged as a human and animal pathogen on Vancouver Island in 1999 and has since spread to the BC Lower Mainland and the Pacific Northwestern US. Though the incidence of C. gattii infection remains low and stable, 10-25 people become sick from cryptococcal disease each year in BC and about 16% die from the disease. This project sequenced the genomes of the two strains of C. gattii that cause disease in BC and compared with genomes of representative strains of C. neoformans, which generally cause disease in people with compromised immunity from diseases such as HIV/AIDS or treatments like chemotherapy. The genome sequences provide a resource to further evaluate the epidemiology of cryptococcal disease and to evaluate the role of pathogen genes in the differential interactions of C. gattii and C. neoformans with immunocompromised and immunocompetent hosts.