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Title: On sunspots, click science and molecular iconography
Authors: Mokrousov, Igor V. 
Keywords: Database;MIRU-VNTR;Mycobacterium tuberculosis;Phylogeny;SNP;Spoligotyping
Issue Date: May-2018
Publisher: Elsevier
Journal: Tuberculosis 
Abstract: CRISPR-spoligotyping and MIRU-VNTR typing, SITVIT_WEB and MIRU-VNTRplus are the methods and online resources most widely used for Mycobacterium tuberculosis genotype family assignment and clustering analysis. They have been proven invaluable for molecular epidemiological studies of this important human pathogen in setting up the terminology and classification framework. However, they are inherently limited by insufficient knowledge of evolution of the targeted genome loci (especially, CRISPR). The situation is aggravated by the dogmatic, iconographic perception of these increasingly user-friendly online tools. Here, I present a critical essay on hot practical aspects related to the use of SITVIT_WEB and MIRU-VNTRplus, in particular, partly inadequate (sub)clade assignment due to imperfect decision rules, partly outdated methodological options offered to the users that permit to build scientifically unsound phylogenies from spoligotyping data. A confusing terminology, misclassification and false clustering are not abstract issues but make a scientific discussion meaningless, and I propose some courses for improvement.
ISSN: 1472-9792
DOI: 10.1016/
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