Towards a better understanding of the bacterial pan-genome
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The bacterial pan-genome is a relatively new concept that refers to the number of genes observed in a given set of bacterial genome sequences, either at the intra- or inter-species level. Determining the pan-genome of a given species of bacteria using a large number of strains allows one to compare multiple genes and to determine evolutionary links between isolates. This information can help to determine population structure, diversity in terms of prevalence in a given environment and pathogenicity of microorganisms. Within this review, we explain the most important issues related to pan-genome studies. We also include a brief description of some selected bacterial pan-genomes. Finally, we propose an easy-toperform workflow to study bacterial pan-genomes that will facilitate nonexperts in a pan-genome-based investigation.