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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2001 Oct 16;204(1):71-4.

Evidence for additional genus-level diversity of Chlamydiales in the environment.

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Lehrstuhl für Mikrobiologie, Technische Universität München, Am Hochanger 4, D-85350 Freising, Germany.


The medically important order Chlamydiales has long been considered to contain a few closely related bacteria which occur exclusively in animals and humans. This perception of diversity and habitat had to be revised with the recent identification of the genera Simkania, Waddlia, Parachlamydia, and Neochlamydia with the latter two comprising endosymbionts of amoebae. Application of a newly developed PCR assay for the specific amplification of a near full length 16S rDNA fragment of these novel Chlamydia-related bacteria on activated sludge samples revealed the existence of at least four additional, previously unknown evolutionary lineages of Chlamydiales (each showing less than 92% 16S rRNA sequence similarity with all recognized members of this order). These findings suggest that some waste water treatment plants represent reservoirs for a diverse assemblage of environmental chlamydiae, a discovery which might also be of relevance from the viewpoint of human public health.

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