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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2005 Oct;71(10):6368-74.

Differentiation of campylobacter populations as demonstrated by flagellin short variable region sequences.

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  • 1USDA-ARS, Richard J. Russell Research Center, P.O. Box 5677, Athens, GA 30604-5677, USA.


The DNA sequence of the flaA short variable region (SVR) was used to analyze a random population of Campylobacter isolates to investigate the weakly clonal population structure of members of the genus. The SVR sequence from 197 strains of C. jejuni and C. coli isolated from humans, bovine, swine, and chickens identified a group of 43 strains containing disparate short variable region sequences compared to the rest of the population. This group contains both C. jejuni and C. coli strains but disproportionately consisted of bovine isolates. Relative synonymous codon usage analysis of the sequences identified two groups: one group typified C. jejuni, and the second group was characteristic for C. coli and the disparate alleles were not clustered. The data show that there is significant differentiation of Campylobacter populations according to the source of the isolate even without considering the disparate isolates. Even though there is significant differentiation of chicken and bovine isolates, the bovine isolates did not show any difference in ability to colonize chickens. It is possible that disparate sequences were obtained through the lateral transfer of DNA from Campylobacter species other than C. jejuni and C. coli. It is evident that recombination within the flaA SVR occurs rapidly. However, the rate of migration between populations appears to limit the distribution of sequences and results in a weakly clonal population structure.

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