Novel Applications of Metagenomics for Detection of Tickborne Pathogens

Kyle G. Rodino, Bobbi S. Pritt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Tick populations have expanded in many parts of the globe, bringing with them an enhanced appreciation and discovery of novel tickborne pathogens, as well an increased in reported human cases of tickborne disease. Targeted and unbiased (shotgun) clinical metagenomic sequencing tests are increasingly used for detection of known and emerging infectious agents and have recently been employed for detection of tickborne pathogens. Content: This review describes the types of metagenomic sequencing assays used for detection of emerging tickborne pathogens and reviews the recent literature on this topic. Important diagnostic and interpretative challenges are also covered. Summary: Metagenomic analysis has emerged as a powerful tool for detection, discovery, characterization, and classification of tickborne pathogens. Shotgun metagenomics is especially promising because it allows for detection of all tickborne bacteria, viruses, and parasites in a single specimen. Despite the potential advantages, there are several important challenges, including high cost, complexity of testing and interpretation, and slow turnaround time. No doubt, these challenges will diminish with increased use and advances in the field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-74
Number of pages6
JournalClinical chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022


  • bacterial diseases
  • infectious disease
  • sequence detection and analysis
  • viral diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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