Alistair C Darby

Alistair C Darby
University of Liverpool | UoL · Institute of Integrative Biology

B.Sc.(Hons), M.Sc.(Dic), Ph.D.

About

281
Publications
55,907
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
7,730
Citations
Additional affiliations
July 2019 - present
University of Liverpool
Position
  • Professor
January 2017 - June 2019
University of Liverpool
Position
  • Professor (Full)
January 2011 - December 2017
University of Liverpool
Position
  • Lecturer

Publications

Publications (281)
Article
Full-text available
The bacterium Wolbachia (order Rickettsiales), representing perhaps the most abundant vertically transmitted microbe worldwide, infects arthropods and filarial nematodes. In arthropods, Wolbachia can induce reproductive alterations and interfere with the transmission of several arthropod-borne pathogens. In addition, Wolbachia is an obligate mutual...
Article
Full-text available
The α-proteobacterium Wolbachia is probably the most prevalent, vertically transmitted symbiont on Earth. In contrast with its wide distribution in arthropods, Wolbachia is restricted to one family of animal-parasitic nematodes, the Onchocercidae. This includes filarial pathogens such as Onchocerca volvulus, the cause of human onchocerciasis, or ri...
Article
Full-text available
Four percent of female Nasonia vitripennis carry the son-killer bacterium Arsenophonus nasoniae, a microbe with notably different biology from other inherited parasites and symbionts. In this paper, we examine a draft genome sequence of the bacterium for open reading frames (ORFs), structures and pathways involved in interactions with its insect ho...
Preprint
Molnupiravir is an antiviral approved for treating COVID-19, which is thought to drive lethal error catastrophe. How this drug-induced mechanism of action impacts the emergence of resistance mutations is unclear. AGILE Candidate Specific Trial (CST)-2 is a phase IIa trial randomising 180 adult outpatients with SARS-COV-2 infection within five days...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Since the emergence of SARS-CoV-2, evolutionary pressure has driven large increases in the transmissibility of the virus. However, with increasing levels of immunity through vaccination and natural infection the evolutionary pressure will switch towards immune escape. Genomic surveillance in regions of high immunity is crucial in detec...
Article
The Delta (B.1.617.2) variant was the predominant UK circulating SARS-CoV-2 strain between May and December 2021. How Delta infection compares with previous variants is unknown. This prospective observational cohort study assessed symptomatic adults participating in the app-based COVID Symptom Study who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 from May 26 to...
Article
Full-text available
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has a complex strategy for the transcription of viral subgenomic mRNAs (sgmRNAs), which are targets for nucleic acid diagnostics. Each of these sgmRNAs has a unique 5′ sequence, the leader–transcriptional regulatory sequence gene junction (leader–TRS junction), that can be identified usin...
Article
Full-text available
Members of the bacterial genus Rickettsia were originally identified as causative agents of vector-borne diseases in mammals. However, many Rickettsia species are arthropod symbionts and close relatives of ‘Candidatus Megaira’, which are symbiotic associates of microeukaryotes. Here, we clarify the evolutionary relationships between these organisms...
Article
Full-text available
Mitigation of SARS-CoV-2 transmission from international travel is a priority. We evaluated the effectiveness of travellers being required to quarantine for 14-days on return to England in Summer 2020. We identified 4,207 travel-related SARS-CoV-2 cases and their contacts, and identified 827 associated SARS-CoV-2 genomes. Overall, quarantine was as...
Article
Full-text available
Mitigation of SARS-CoV-2 transmission from international travel is a priority. We evaluated the effectiveness of travellers being required to quarantine for 14-days on return to England in Summer 2020. We identified 4,207 travel-related SARS-CoV-2 cases and their contacts, and identified 827 associated SARS-CoV-2 genomes. Overall, quarantine was as...
Preprint
Introduction Viral sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 has been used for outbreak investigation, but there is limited evidence supporting routine use for infection prevention and control (IPC) within hospital settings. Methods We conducted a prospective non-randomised trial of sequencing at 14 acute UK hospital trusts. Sites each had a 4-week baseline data-c...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding SARS-CoV-2 transmission in higher education settings is important to limit spread between students, and into at-risk populations. In this study, we sequenced 482 SARS-CoV-2 isolates from the University of Cambridge from 5 October to 6 December 2020. We perform a detailed phylogenetic comparison with 972 isolates from the surrounding c...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding SARS-CoV-2 transmission in higher education settings is important to limit spread between students, and into at-risk populations. In this study, we sequenced 482 SARS-CoV-2 isolates from the University of Cambridge from 5 October to 6 December 2020. We perform a detailed phylogenetic comparison with 972 isolates from the surrounding c...
Preprint
The mutational landscape of SARS-CoV-2 varies at both the dominant viral genome sequence and minor genomic variant population. An early change associated with transmissibility was the D614G substitution in the spike protein. This appeared to be accompanied by a P323L substitution in the viral polymerase (NSP12), but this latter change was not under...
Article
The evolution of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus leads to new variants that warrant timely epidemiological characterization. Here we use the dense genomic surveillance data generated by the COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium to reconstruct the dynamics of 71 different lineages in each of 315 English local authori...
Article
Full-text available
Identifying risk factors for impaired oral rotavirus vaccine (ORV) efficacy in low-income countries may lead to improvements in vaccine design and delivery. In this prospective cohort study, we measure maternal rotavirus antibodies, environmental enteric dysfunction (EED), and bacterial gut microbiota development among infants receiving two doses o...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: To assess the association between vaginal microbiome (VMB) composition and recurrent early spontaneous preterm birth (sPTB)/preterm prelabour rupture of membranes (PPROM). Design: Nested case-control study. Setting: UK tertiary referral hospital. Sample: High-risk women with previous sPTB/PPROM <34+0 weeks' gestation who had a rec...
Article
p class="MsoNormal">SARS-CoV-2 infections were rising during early summer 2021 in many countries associated with the Delta variant. We assessed RT-PCR swab-positivity in the REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study in England. We observed sustained exponential growth with average doubling time (June July 2021) of 25 days dri...
Preprint
Full-text available
The SARS-CoV-2 ARTIC amplicon protocol is the most widely used genome sequencing method for SARS-CoV-2, accounting for over 43% of publicly-available genome sequences. The protocol utilises 98 primers to amplify ∼400bp fragments of the SARS-CoV-2 genome covering all 30,000 bases. Understanding the analytical performance metrics of this protocol wil...
Article
Rickettsia are intracellular bacteria originally described as arthropod borne pathogens that are emerging as a diverse group of often biologically important, non-pathogenic symbionts of invertebrates and microeukaryotes. However, sparse genomic resources for symbiotic strains and for the sister genus (Candidatus Megaira) inhibit our understanding o...
Preprint
Full-text available
Rickettsia are intracellular bacteria originally described as arthropod borne pathogens that are emerging as a diverse group of often biologically important, non-pathogenic symbionts of invertebrates and microeukaryotes. However, sparse genomic resources for symbiotic strains and for the sister genus ( Candidatus Megaira) inhibit our understanding...
Article
Full-text available
Endosymbiotic intracellular bacteria of the genus Wolbachia are harboured by many species of invertebrates. They display a wide range of developmental, metabolic and nutritional interactions with their hosts and may impact the transmission of arboviruses and protozoan parasites. Wolbachia have occasionally been isolated during insect cell line gene...
Article
Full-text available
Many vector-borne diseases are controlled by methods that kill the insect vectors responsible for disease transmission. Recording the age structure of vector populations provides information on mortality rates and vectorial capacity, and should form part of the detailed monitoring that occurs in the wake of control programmes, yet tools for obtaini...
Article
Full-text available
We present evidence for multiple independent origins of recombinant SARS-CoV-2 viruses sampled from late 2020 and early 2021 in the United Kingdom. Their genomes carry single nucleotide polymorphisms and deletions that are characteristic of the B.1.1.7 variant of concern, but lack the full complement of lineage-defining mutations. Instead, the rema...
Article
Full-text available
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a zoonotic infection that emerged in the Middle East in 2012. Symptoms range from mild to severe and include both respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses. The virus is mainly present in camel populations with occasional zoonotic spill over into humans. The severity of infection in humans...
Preprint
Full-text available
Bovine Digital Dermatitis (BDD) is a prevalent infectious disease, causing painful foot skin lesions and lameness in cattle. The polymicrobial nature of this disease has led to the hypothesis that the foot skin microbiota may be associated with occurrence and progression of lesions. We describe herein the bovine foot skin microbiota using 16S rRNA...
Preprint
Background: Bovine Digital Dermatitis (BDD) is a prevalent infectious disease, causing painful foot skin lesions and lameness in cattle. The polymicrobial nature of this disease has led to the hypothesis that the foot skin microbiota may be associated with occurrence and progression of lesions. We describe herein the bovine foot skin microbiota usi...
Preprint
Full-text available
We present evidence for multiple independent origins of recombinant SARS-CoV-2 viruses sampled from late 2020 and early 2021 in the United Kingdom. Their genomes carry single nucleotide polymorphisms and deletions that are characteristic of the B.1.1.7 variant of concern, but lack the full complement of lineage-defining mutations. Instead, the rema...
Preprint
Full-text available
Many vector-borne diseases are controlled by methods that kill the insect vectors responsible for disease transmission. Recording the age structure of vector populations provides information on mortality rates and vectorial capacity, and should form part of the detailed monitoring that occurs in the wake of control programmes, yet tools for obtaini...
Article
Full-text available
Background The SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.7 was first identified in December, 2020, in England. We aimed to investigate whether increases in the proportion of infections with this variant are associated with differences in symptoms or disease course, reinfection rates, or transmissibility. Methods We did an ecological study to examine the associatio...
Article
Full-text available
Here, we report the first complete genomes of three cultivable treponeme species from bovine digital dermatitis (DD) skin lesions, two comparative human treponemes, considered indistinguishable from bovine DD species, and a bovine gastrointestinal (GI) treponeme isolate. Key genomic differences between bovine and human treponemes implicate microbia...
Preprint
Full-text available
Introduction: SARS-CoV-2 has a complex strategy for the transcription of viral subgenomic mRNAs (sgmRNAs), which are targets for nucleic acid diagnostics. Each of these sgRNAs has a unique 5 sequence, the leader-transcriptional regulatory sequence gene junction (leader-TRS-junction), that can be identified using sequencing. Results: High resolution...
Article
Full-text available
Bloodstream infections caused by nontyphoidal Salmonella are a major public health concern in Africa, causing ~49,600 deaths every year. The most common Salmonella enterica pathovariant associated with invasive nontyphoidal Salmonella disease is Salmonella Typhimurium sequence type (ST)313. It has been proposed that antimicrobial resistance and gen...
Article
Full-text available
A novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has been identified as the causative agent of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Animal models, and in particular non-human primates, are essential to understand the pathogenesis of emerging diseases and to assess the safety and efficacy of novel vaccines and therapeutics. Here, we show that SARS-CoV-2 replicates in the...
Article
Human noroviruses (HuNoVs) circulate globally, affect all age groups and place a substantial burden upon health services. High genetic diversity leading to antigenic variation plays a significant role in HuNoV epidemiology, driving periodic global emergence of epidemic variants. Studies have suggested that immunocompromised individuals may be a res...
Article
Full-text available
Mass releases of sterilized male insects, in the frame of sterile insect technique programs, have helped suppress insect pest populations since the 1950s. In the major horticultural pests Bactrocera dorsalis, Ceratitis capitata , and Zeugodacus cucurbitae , a key phenotype white pupae (wp) has been used for decades to selectively remove females bef...
Preprint
Full-text available
Objective: To assess the association between vaginal microbiome (VMB) composition and recurrent early spontaneous preterm birth (sPTB)/preterm prelabour rupture of membranes (PPROM). Design: Nested case-control study. Setting: UK tertiary referral hospital. Sample: High-risk women with previous sPTB/PPROM <34+0 weeks gestation who had a recurrence...
Article
Full-text available
The etiology of Crohn’s disease (CD) is multifactorial. Bacterial and fungal microbiota are involved in the onset and/or progression of the disease. A bacterial dysbiosis in CD patients is accepted; however, less is known about the mycobiome and the relationships between the two communities. We investigated the interkingdom relationships, their met...
Article
Full-text available
Wolbachia are alpha-proteobacteria symbionts infecting a large range of arthropod species and two different families of nematodes. Interestingly, these endosymbionts are able to induce diverse phenotypes in their hosts: they are reproductive parasites within many arthropods, nutritional mutualists within some insects and obligate mutualists within...
Preprint
Full-text available
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a zoonotic infection that emerged in the Middle East in 2012. Symptoms range from mild to severe and include both respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses. The virus is mainly present in camel populations with occasional spill overs into humans. The severity of infection in humans is infl...
Preprint
Full-text available
Identifying risk factors for impaired oral rotavirus vaccine (ORV) efficacy in low-income countries may lead to improvements in vaccine design and delivery. We measured maternal rotavirus antibodies, environmental enteric dysfunction (EED), and bacterial gut microbiota development among infants receiving two doses of Rotarix in India (n = 307), Mal...
Article
Full-text available
Global dispersal and increasing frequency of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein variant D614G are suggestive of a selective advantage but may also be due to a random founder effect. We investigate the hypothesis for positive selection of spike D614G in the United Kingdom using more than 25,000 whole genome SARS-CoV-2 sequences. Despite the availability o...
Article
Full-text available
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Sequencing the viral genome as the outbreak progresses is important, particularly in the identification of emerging isolates with different pathogenic potential and to identify whether nucleotide changes in the genome will imp...
Article
Full-text available
Busseola fusca (Fuller) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), the maize stalk borer, is a widespread crop pest in sub-Saharan Africa that has been the focus of biological research and intensive management strategies. Here, we present a comprehensive annotated transcriptome of B. fusca (originally collected in the Western Province of Kenya) based on ten pooled...
Article
Full-text available
Wolbachia are intracellular endosymbionts of several invertebrate taxa, including insects and nematodes. Although Wolbachia DNA has been detected in ticks, its presence is generally associated with parasitism by insects. To determine whether or not Wolbachia can infect and grow in tick cells, cell lines from three tick species, Ixodes scapularis, I...
Article
This study investigated the genetic basis of multidrug resistance in two strains of Achromobacter xylosoxidans isolated from patients attending a hospital in Thailand in 2012. These isolates were highly resistant to cephalosporins, aminoglycosides, fluoroquinolones, co-trimoxazole and carbapenems. Whole genome sequencing revealed that the two isola...
Preprint
Full-text available
Wolbachia are alpha-proteobacteria symbionts infecting a large range of arthropod species and two different families of nematodes. Interestingly, these endosymbionts are able to induce diverse phenotypes in their hosts: they are reproductive parasites within many arthropods, nutritional mutualists within some insects and obligate mutualists within...
Preprint
Full-text available
Wolbachia are intracellular endosymbionts of several invertebrate taxa, including insects and nematodes. Although Wolbachia DNA has been detected in ticks, its presence is generally associated with parasitism by insects. To determine whether or not Wolbachia can infect and grow in tick cells, cell lines from three tick species, Ixodes scapularis, I...
Preprint
Full-text available
Flooding insect pest populations with huge numbers of sterilized males is an effective mean of biological control as they mate with, but cannot fertilize, wild females. The greatest challenge of the sterile insect technique (SIT) is the removal of unrequired factory reared females prior to sterilization and release. Spontaneous white-pupae ( wp ⁻ )...
Article
Mobile elements—plasmids and phages—are important components of microbial function and evolution via traits that they encode and their capacity to shuttle genetic material between species. We here report the unusually rich array of mobile elements within the genome of Arsenophonus nasoniae, the son-killer symbiont of the parasitic wasp Nasonia vitr...
Article
Full-text available
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is associated with HIV acquisition and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Recurrence after metronidazole treatment is high. HIV-negative, non-pregnant Rwandan BV patients were randomized to four groups (n = 17/group) after seven-day oral metronidazole treatment: behavioral counseling only (control), or counseling plus intermittent...
Article
Full-text available
Animals interact with a diverse array of both beneficial and detrimental microorganisms. In insects, these obligate symbioses in many cases allow feeding on nutritionally unbalanced diets. It is, however, still not clear how are obligate symbioses maintained at the cellular level for up to several hundred million years. Exact mechanisms driving hos...
Article
Full-text available
It is still not understood how honey bee parasite changes the gene expression to adapt to the host environment and how the host simultaneously responds to the parasite infection by modifying its own gene expression. To address this question, we studied a trypanosomatid, Lotmaria passim, which can be cultured in medium and inhabit the honey bee hind...