The present invention relates to methods and compositions for using nucleotide sequence variations of 16S and 23S rRNA within the B. cereus group to discriminate a highly infectious bacterium B. anthracis from closely related microorganisms. Sequence variations in the 16S and 23S rRNA of the B. cereus subgroup including B. anthracis are utilized to construct an array that can detect these sequence variations through selective hybridizations and discriminate B. cereus group that includes B. anthracis. Discrimination of single base differences in rRNA was achieved with a microchip during analysis of B. cereus group isolates from both single and in mixed samples, as well as identification of polymorphic sites. Successful use of a microchip to determine the appropriate subgroup classification using eight reference microorganisms from the B. cereus group as a study set, was demonstrated.
The United States Government has rights in this invention under Contract No. W-31-109-ENG-38 between the U.S. Department of Energy and the University of Chicago representing Argonne National Laboratory.