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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2000 Nov;66(11):4785-9.

Genetic diversity and dynamics of Sinorhizobium meliloti populations nodulating different alfalfa cultivars in Italian soils.

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  • 1Istituto Sperimentale Colture Foraggere, 200075 Lodi, Italy.


We analyzed the genetic diversity of 531 Sinorhizobium meliloti strains isolated from nodules of Medicago sativa cultivars in two different Italian soils during 4 years of plant growth. The isolates were analyzed for DNA polymorphism with the random amplified polymorphic DNA method. The populations showed a high level of genetic polymorphism distributed throughout all the isolates, with 440 different haplotypes. Analysis of molecular variance allowed us to relate the genetic structure of the symbiotic population to various factors, including soil type, alfalfa cultivar, individual plants within a cultivar, and time. Some of these factors significantly affected the genetic structure of the population, and their relative influence changed with time. At the beginning of the experiment, the soil of origin and, even more, the cultivar significantly influenced the distribution of genetic variability of S. meliloti. After 3 years, the rhizobium population was altered; it showed a genetic structure based mainly on differences among plants, while the effects of soil and cultivar were not significant.

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