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Biochimie. 1992 Jul-Aug;74(7-8):723-33.

A method for the determination of bacterial spore DNA content based on isotopic labelling, spore germination and diphenylamine assay; ploidy of spores of several Bacillus species.

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Institut de génétique et biologie microbiennes, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Erratum in

  • Biochimie 1992 Nov;74(11):1039.


A reliable method for measuring the spore DNA content, based on radioactive DNA labelling, spore germination in absence of DNA replication and diphenylamine assay, was developed. The accuracy of the method, within 10-15%, is adequate for determining the number of chromosomes per spore, provided that the genome size is known. B subtilis spores were shown to be invariably monogenomic, while those of larger bacilli Bacillus megaterium, Bacillus cereus and Bacillus thuringiensis, often, if not invariably, contain two genomes. Attempts to modify the spore DNA content of B subtilis by altering the richness of the sporulation medium, the sporulation conditions (liquid or solid medium), or by mutation, were apparently unsuccessful. An increase of spore size with medium richness, not accompanied by an increase in DNA content, was observed. The implication of the apparently species-specific spore ploidy and the influence of the sporulation conditions on spore size and shape are discussed.

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