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How PulseNet Works

PulseNet Brochure Photos

  • Graphic: PulseNet quickly finds outbreaks by connecting similar cases of foodborne illness—and linking these illnesses across states and countries
  • Photo: Agar Plate

    The scientist takes bacterial cells from an agar plate.

  • Photo: Agar Plate

    The scientist mixes bacterial cells with melted agarose (which is like gelatin) before DNA is extracted from them. The extracted DNA is cut with special enzymes that recognize specific DNA sequences.

  • Photo: DNA Fingerprint

    The scientist mixes bacterial cells with melted agarose (which is like gelatin) before DNA is extracted from them. The extracted DNA is cut with special enzymes that recognize specific DNA sequences.

  • Photo: Agar Plate

    The scientist loads the DNA gelatin plug into a gel, and places it in an electric field that separates DNA fragments according to their size.

  • Graphic: Agar Plate

    The scientist loads the DNA gelatin plug into a gel, and places it in an electric field that separates DNA fragments according to their size.

  • Graphic: Agar Plate

    The scientist loads the DNA gelatin plug into a gel, and places it in an electric field that separates DNA fragments according to their size.

  • Graphic: The gel is stained so that DNA can be seen under ultraviolet (UV) light. A digital camera takes a photograph of the gel and stores the picture in the computer.

    The gel is stained so that DNA can be seen under ultraviolet (UV) light. A digital camera takes a photograph of the gel and stores the picture in the computer.

  • Photo: Agar Plate

    PulseNet uses computer software to compare this DNA fingerprint picture with others. The computer software compares DNA fingerprints from many samples in the database.

  • Photo: Agar Plate

    • Scientists at state or local public health departments enter patterns of the DNA fingerprints into an electronic database • These patterns are transmitted to CDC, where they are filed in the main PulseNet computer • If patterns from different labs match, the PulseNet team will alert all involved PulseNet Labs of a possible foodborne outbreak

View Slideshow of how PulseNet works [PPT - 10 slides]

 
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