The recent emergence of the human-pathogenic Vibrio vulnificus in Israel was investigated by using multilocus genotype data and modern molecular evolutionary analysis tools. We show that this pathogen is a hybrid organism that evolved by the hybridization of the genomes from 2 distinct and independent populations. These findings provide clear evidence of how hybridization between 2 existing and nonpathogenic forms has apparently led to the emergence of an epidemic infectious disease caused by this pathogenic variant. This novel observation shows yet another way in which epidemic organisms arise.
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