Mathew A Beale

Wellcome Sanger Institute

Syphilis is an ancient sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum and may lead to severe clinical complications. Recent years have seen striking increases in syphilis diagnoses in many high income countries, with the UK reporting a 148% increase in new diagnoses over 10 years. However, current knowledge of Treponemal diseases and epidemiology is limited, largely because in vitro culture has not been possible until very recently, making Treponemas difficult to study and sequence at scale.

The recent development of sequence-capture schemes for targeted enrichment of Treponema DNA directly from mixed clinical samples is now enabling largescale population genomic studies of syphilis populations. These preliminary studies have provided insights into the promise, but also the limitations of Treponema genomics. In this seminar I will discuss recent studies in syphilis genomics, with particular focus on the emergence of antimicrobial resistance. I will further discuss some of the challenges of sequencing and analysing data from these samples.


34 IUSTI Congress - European Congres on Sexually transmitted Infections and HIV/AIDS
Bucharest, September 3-5,