Nature Reviews Microbiology 10, 791-797 (November 2012) | doi:10.1038/nrmicro2880

OpinionFrom genotype to phenotype: can systems biology be used to predict Staphylococcus aureus virulence?

Nicholas K. Priest1, Justine K. Rudkin1, Edward J. Feil1, Jean M. H. van den Elsen1, Ambrose Cheung2, Sharon J. Peacock3, Maisem Laabei1, David A. Lucks4, Mario Recker5 & Ruth C. Massey1  About the authors


With the advent of high-throughput whole-genome sequencing, it is now possible to sequence a bacterial genome in a matter of hours. However, although the presence or absence of a particular gene can be determined, we do not yet have the tools to extract information about the true virulence potential of an organism from sequence data alone. Here, we focus on the important human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus and present a framework for the construction of a broad systems biology-based tool that could be used to predict virulence phenotypes from S. aureus genomic sequences using existing technology.

Author affiliations

  1. Nicholas K. Priest, Justine K. Rudkin, Edward J. Feil, Jean M. H. van den Elsen, Maisem Laabei and Ruth C. Massey are at the Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY, UK.
  2. Ambrose Cheung is at Dartmouth Medical School, Vail Building - HB 7550, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755, USA.
  3. Sharon J. Peacock is at the Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge CB2 0QQ, UK.
  4. David A. Lucks is at Western Infectious Disease Consultants, PC, 3885 Upham Street Suite 200, Wheat Ridge, Colorado 80033, USA.
  5. Mario Recker is at the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PS, UK.

Correspondence to: Ruth C. Massey1 Email:

Published online 16 October 2012