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Trends Microbiol. 2003 Jul;11(7):318-21.

Gene-sequence-based criteria for species definition in bacteriology: the Bartonella paradigm.

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Unité des Rickettsies, CNRS UPRESA 6020, Faculté de médecine, 27 Boulevard Jean Moulin, 13385 Marseille Cedex 5, France.


The definition of new species is currently based on polyphasic classification that includes both determination of phenotypic characteristics and DNA-DNA homology. However, none of these techniques is convenient for the rapid characterization of fastidious or non-culturable bacteria. Using sequences available in the GenBank database, we compared the similarities of gene fragments among the currently recognized Bartonella species. This comparison led to both the definition of similarity values that discriminated Bartonella at the species level and assessment of the relative discriminatory power of each gene examined. In this perspective, rpoB and gltA were found to be the most potent.

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