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Syst Appl Microbiol. 2003 Jun;26(2):203-10.

In most Bradyrhizobium groups sequence comparison of 16S-23S rDNA internal transcribed spacer regions corroborates DNA-DNA hybridizations.

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Laboratory of Microbiology, Dept. Physiology, Biochemistry and Microbiology, Fac. Science, Ghent University, Gent, Belgium.


In an extension of a previous small-scale test to assess the use of 16S-23S rDNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequences for rapid grouping of bradyrhizobia, we have sequenced the ITS region of 32 isolates of Bradyrhizobium that had previously been studied using AFLP and DNA-DNA hybridizations. We also included representatives of Afipia and Rhodopseudomonas. Our results indicate that ITS sequences are very diverse among bradyrhizobia. Nevertheless, for most of the bradyrhizobia, the grouping of ITS sequences was in line with AFLP results and DNA-DNA hybridization data. Strains that have at least 95.5% ITS sequence similarity belong to the same genospecies, i.e. they have more than 60% DNA-DNA hybridization values. The ITS sequences can therefore provide a relatively fast way to guide strain identification and aid selection of the reference groups that should be included in DNA-DNA hybridization experiments for precise genotypic identification. The Bradyrhizobium strains isolated from Aeschynomene species showed a much larger diversity in ITS sequences than other bradyrhizobia, possibly as a result of lateral exchange. The above ITS sequence similarity criterion for genospecies therefore does not apply to them, but they can easily be distinguished from other Bradyrhizobium genospecies because they have a distinct tRNA(ala) gene.

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