Build a Bug

Explore the features of two closely related subspecies of the bacteria, Salmonella. Find out how the differences in their genomes results in their ability to cause two very different diseases. 

Two common subspecies of Salmonella enterica are Salmonella Typhimurium and Salmonella Typhi. These subspecies are very closely related and are impossible to distinguish under the microscope. However, there are distinct differences in the type and severity of disease they cause. This is the result of subtle differences in their genetic makeup. Salmonella Typhimurium causes gastroenteritis (diarrhoea, vomiting, fever and abdominal cramps) while Salmonella Typhi causes typhoid fever (high fever, weakness, stomach pains, headache and loss of appetite).

In this activity you will research and assemble a Salmonella genome. A PowerPoint presentation provides background on the bacteria, what role they play in disease, their characteristic structure and how they can acquire antibiotic resistance. You will use resources, similar to those used by researchers here at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, to research the key components of the bacteria which determine their different disease- causing ability. You can also explore the genome of Salmonella by creating your own bacterial genome out of modelling clay. 

Age: 14 years + (KS4 +)

This page was last updated on 2015-01-14