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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2003 Aug;69(8):4639-47.

Genetic diversity and temporal variation in the cyanophage community infecting marine Synechococcus species in Rhode Island's coastal waters.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Roger Williams University, Bristol, Rhode Island 02809, USA.


The cyanophage community in Rhode Island's coastal waters is genetically diverse and dynamic. Cyanophage abundance ranged from over 10(4) phage ml(-1) in the summer months to less then 10(2) phage ml(-1) during the winter months. Thirty-six distinct cyanomyovirus g20 genotypes were identified over a 3-year sampling period; however, only one to nine g20 genotypes were detected at any one sampling date. Phylogenetic analyses of g20 sequences revealed that the Rhode Island cyanomyoviral isolates fall into three main clades and are closely related to other known viral isolates of Synechococcus spp. Extinction dilution enrichment followed by host range tests and PCR restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis was used to detect changes in the relative abundance of cyanophage types in June, July, and August 2002. Temporal changes in both the overall composition of the cyanophage community and the relative abundance of specific cyanophage g20 genotypes were observed. In some seawater samples, the g20 gene from over 50% of isolated cyanophages could not be amplified by using the PCR primer pairs specific for cyanomyoviruses, which suggested that cyanophages in other viral families (e.g., Podoviridae or Siphoviridae) may be important components of the Rhode Island cyanophage community.

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