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Aust Vet J. 2000 Mar;78(3):184-90.

DNA fingerprinting of Australian isolates of Mycobacterium avium subsp paratuberculosis using IS900 RFLP.

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Animal Health Laboratories, Agriculture Western Australia, Bentley Delivery Centre, Bentley.



To evaluate additional restriction enzymes for IS900 RFLP of Mycobacterium avium subsp paratuberculosis and examine the genetic diversity among Australian isolates for epidemiological studies of Johne's disease.


Seventy-one isolates of M paratuberculosis from cattle, sheep, goat, alpaca and rhinoceros in six Australian States and the Northern Territory, reference strains and reference DNA from previously characterised strains were tested for genetic variation. Bst EII, Pvu II and Pst I restriction enzymes were used, and four others (Bam HI, Alu I, Xho I and Dra I) were assessed for their ability to detect polymorphisms. Multiple isolates from some animals were tested.


Bam HI, was the most effective enzyme for identifying polymorphisms (12 types), followed by Bst EII (11 types). Both Pvu II and Pst I were relatively ineffectual. Fifteen different types were identified, 12 in clinical isolates. Most isolates were cattle (C) strains and fell into the C1 (n = 28) and C3 (n = 32) groupings. All isolates from alpaca were type C1, and bovine isolates were commonly C1 (n = 15) or C3 (n = 28). All of the sheep were infected with sheep (S) strains; no S strains were identified in cattle. Two of six isolates from one animal had single band differences.


The epidemiological features of M paratuberculosis in Australia are similar to those reported in New Zealand, where cattle and sheep are commonly infected with different strains. However, because of the lack of polymorphism identified within the major groups, it is unlikely that DNA fingerprinting will have a significant role in epidemiological studies of Johne's disease, unless an unusual strain in being studied.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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