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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1996 Mar;62(3):872-9.

A computer analysis of primer and probe hybridization potential with bacterial small-subunit rRNA sequences.

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  • 1Biology Department, University of California, Los Angeles 90024-1606, USA.


Analysis of restriction fragment length polymorphism of bacterial small-subunit (SSU) rRNA sequences represents a potential means for characterizing complex bacterial populations such as those found in natural environments. In order to estimate the resolution potential of this approach, we have examined the SSU rRNA sequences in the Ribosomal Database Project bank using a computer algorithm which simulates hybridization between DNA sequences. Simulated hybridizations between a primer or probe sequence and an SSU rRNA sequence yield a value for each potential hybridization. This algorithm has been used to evaluate sites for PCR primers and hybridization probes used for classifying SSU rRNA sequences. Our analysis indicates that length variation in terminal restriction fragments of PCR products from the SSU rRNA sequences can identify a wide spectrum of bacteria. We also observe that the majority of restriction fragment length variation is the result of insertions and deletions rather than restriction site polymorphisms. This approach is also used to evaluate the relative efficiency and specificity of a number of published hybridization probes.

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