One of the most important advances of recent years is the use of 'whole genome sequencing' of pathogens (mainly viruses and bacteria) as a forensic epidemiological tool. By analysing mutations in the genome of the pathogen we can track how the pathogen moves between regions, between species, or even between individual farms or animals.

The large quantities of data being generated by whole genome sequencing require interpretation that is dependent on sophisticated computational and analytical tools, the development of which falls under a scientific discipline known as 'phylodynamics'.

EPIC staff are working to develop libraries of tools that are appropriate for diseases relevant to Scotland, including both potentially catastrophic exotic diseases such as Avian Influenza (AI) (figure below) and Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), as well as endemic diseases that are important to Scotland now, such as Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Virus (BVD).




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