Whole genome sequencing detects disease outbreaks faster

Until a few years ago, it could take several weeks for doctors and veterinarians to identify which disease-
causing microorganism is causing a disease, and how the disease has spread. 

Today, techniques for whole genome sequencing can quickly and relatively cheaply map the entire DNA profile of disease-causing microorganisms in one go. By mapping the genetic material of bacteria, it is also possible to determine their kinship and other factors such as virulence and antimicrobial resistance. This provides an understanding of how bacteria are related and have developed over time. 

A technological revolution

Whole genome sequencing has revolutionized the work of investigating disease outbreaks because technology makes it possible to more quickly and precisely identify the source of the outbreak. The consequences of and the costs related to the outbreak are thus reduced. Whole genome sequencing can also provide knowledge about antimicrobialresistant genes in bacteria by monitoring resistant clones in people and the environment.

The National Food Institute conducts research in whole genome sequencing techniques. The Institute’s  research sets the international standard for the identification, monitoring, and study of the global spread of disease-promoting microorganisms and antimicrobial-resistant bacteria. The Institute also makes an effort to promote the use of the technology internationally.

Read more about whole genome sequencing on the special topic portal on disease-causing microorganisms.


Frank Møller Aarestrup
Professor, Head of Division
National Food Institute
+45 35 88 62 81


Rene S. Hendriksen
Professor, Head of Research Group
National Food Institute
+45 35 88 62 88
11 APRIL 2021