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Syst Appl Microbiol. 2004 Mar;27(2):192-7.

Differentiation of the yeasts Williopsis, Zygowilliopsis and Komagataea by karyotypic and PCR analyses.

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  • 1State Institute for Genetics, Selection of Industrial Microorganisms, Moscow, Russia.


We used polymerase chain reaction with universal and microsatellite primers, and molecular karyotyping to evaluate the extent of divergence between the genomes of the yeasts currently assigned to the heterogeneous genus Williopsis. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis of chromosomal DNAs indicates that Zygowilliopsis californica, Komagataea pratensis, Williopsis mucosa, Williopsis salicorniae species and Williopsis sensu stricto complex have clearly different karyotypes. In contrast, the latter six species, Williopsis saturnus, W. beijerinckii, W mrakii, W. suaveolens, W. subsufficiens and W. sargentensis, show similar banding patterns and practically cannot be differentiated on the basis of their karyotypes. The data revealed that a PCR method employing the universal primer N21 is appropriate for the distinction of Williopsis, Zygowilliopsis and Komagataea yeasts. Unique fingerprints were generated with this primer for all 10 species studied while strains of the same species showed nearly identical profiles. The data of UP-PCR are in good agreement with genetic classification and provide support for the species status of the yeasts composing the Williopsis sensu stricto complex. Microsatellite primer (GTG)5 allowing molecular typing of individual strains of the same species may be useful for investigating population structure of the saturn-spored yeasts.

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