To obtain new information about Streptococcus pyogenes intrahost genetic variation during invasive infection, we sequenced the genomes of 2,954 serotype M1 strains recovered from a nonhuman primate experimental model of necrotizing fasciitis. A total of 644 strains (21.8%) acquired polymorphisms relative to the input parental strain. The fabT gene, encoding a transcriptional regulator of fatty acid biosynthesis genes, contained 54.5% of these changes. The great majority of polymorphisms were predicted to deleteriously alter FabT function. Transcriptome-sequencing (RNA-seq) analysis of a wild-type strain and an isogenic fabT deletion mutant strain found that between 3.7 and 28.5% of the S. pyogenes transcripts were differentially expressed, depending on the growth temperature (35°C or 40°C) and growth phase (mid-exponential or stationary phase). Genes implicated in fatty acid synthesis and lipid metabolism were significantly upregulated in the fabT deletion mutant strain. FabT also directly or indirectly regulated central carbon metabolism genes, including pyruvate hub enzymes and fermentation pathways and virulence genes. Deletion of fabT decreased virulence in a nonhuman primate model of necrotizing fasciitis. In addition, the fabT deletion strain had significantly decreased survival in human whole blood and during phagocytic interaction with polymorphonuclear leukocytes ex vivo We conclude that FabT mutant progeny arise during infection, constitute a metabolically distinct subpopulation, and are less virulent in the experimental models used here.