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Caterpillars infected with nematodes carrying symbiotic Photorhabdus luminescens. These caterpillars 'glow' as a result of the intrinsic bioluminesence of P. luminescens. Image kindly provided by Richard ffrench-Constant.

The genomes described this month reflect the overall historical bias of microbial genomics towards pathogenic bacteria. Although the balance is now being redressed to some extent, especially through the study of extremophiles, it is still the case that the opportunities provided by genomic studies are primarily taken up by those who study bacterial pathogenicity. This part of the field is, however, being broadened by including the study of pathogens of animals, insects and plants alongside those that afflict humans.

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Crossman, L., Cerdeño-Tárraga, A., Bentley, S. et al. Pathogenomics. Nat Rev Microbiol 1, 176–177 (2003).

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