Databases at the Institut Pasteur MLST web site (http://www.pasteur.fr/mlst) are intended for public access. As a result, all sequences and sequence types (STs) are freely publicly available for downloading. Data on bacterial isolates, including information on reference strains for each ST, are also freely available.
Although the data are available for public access, they remain the exclusive property of the scientists who posted them for a reasonable period of time, in order to allow those owners to publish their own analyses. The publication of analyses by others therefore requires written permission by the owners of the data, preferably coordinated through the database curator(s). All publications citing data from these databases should also include a statement in the Acknowledgments that the data are publicly available at http://www.pasteur.fr/mlst.
Databases for other microbial pathogens are hosted at the University of Oxford (UK) : PubMLST, at the Imperial College (London, UK) : MLST.net, at the University of Warwick (UK): Mark Achtman databases.
MLST databases intend to provide a common language, on a global level, for microbial strain typing, epidemiology, and evolution. MLST data represent a small sample of the genome sequence that is considered representative of the whole genome in terms of strain identity and evolution. In general, internal portions (length: approximately 500 base pairs) of seven essential single-copy genes are used. MLST is mostly applied to bacteria and haploid unicellular eukaryotes (parasites and fungi).
More information on MLST and its applications for microbial tracking, population structure and evolution can be found on the PubMLST web site.