We have constructed Nhel and Xhol optical maps of Escherichia coli O157:H7 solely from genomic DNA molecules to provide a uniquely valuable scaffold for contig closure and sequence validation. E. coli O157:H7 is a common pathogen found in contaminated food and water. Our approach obviated the need for the analysis of clones, PCR products, and hybridizations, because maps were constructed from ensembles of single DNA molecules. Shotgun sequencing of bacterial genomes remains labor-intensive, despite advances in sequencing technology. This is partly due to manual intervention required during the last stages of finishing. The applicability of optical mapping to this problem was enhanced by advances in machine vision techniques that improved mapping throughput and created a path to full automation of mapping. Comparisons were made between maps and sequence data that characterized sequence gaps and guided nascent assemblies.
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