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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1990 Mar;56(3):782-7.

High diversity in DNA of soil bacteria.

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Department of Microbiology and Plant Physiology, University of Bergen, Norway.


Soil bacterium DNA was isolated by minor modifications of previously described methods. After purification on hydroxyapatite and precipitation with cetylpyridinium bromide, the DNA was sheared in a French press to give fragments with an average molecular mass of 420,000 daltons. After repeated hydroxyapatite purification and precipitation with cetylpyridinium bromide, high-pressure liquid chromatography analysis showed the presence of 2.1% RNA or less, whereas 5-methylcytosine made up 2.9% of the total deoxycytidine content. No other unusual bases could be detected. The hyperchromicity was 31 to 36%, and the melting curve in 1 X SSC (0.15 M NaCl plus 0.015 M sodium citrate) corresponded to 58.3 mol% G+C. High-pressure liquid chromatography analysis of two DNA samples gave 58.6 and 60.8 mol% G+C. The heterogeneity of the DNA was determined by reassociation of single-stranded DNA, measured spectrophotometrically. Owing to the high complexity of the DNA, the reassociation had to be carried out in 6 X SSC with 30% dimethyl sulfoxide added. Cuvettes with a 1-mm light path were used, and the A275 was read. DNA concentrations as high as 950 micrograms ml-1 could be used, and the reassociation rate of Escherichia coli DNA was increased about 4.3-fold compared with standard conditions. C0t1/2 values were determined relative to that for E. coli DNA, whereas calf thymus DNA was reassociated for comparison. Our results show that the major part of DNA isolated from the bacterial fraction of soil is very heterogeneous, with a C0t1/2 about 4,600, corresponding to about 4,000 completely different genomes of standard soil bacteria.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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