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J Dent Res. 1990 Aug;69(8):1488-93.

Genetic heterogeneity of Porphyromonas (Bacteroides) gingivalis by genomic DNA fingerprinting.

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Department of Oral Biology, School of Dental Medicine, State University of New York, Buffalo 14214.

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  • J Dent Res 1990 Sep;69(9):following 1623.


This study describes the use of total genomic DNA fingerprinting with the use of restriction endonucleases to characterize clinical isolates of Porphyromonas gingivalis (Bacteroides gingivalis) obtained from patients with periodontitis or with root-canal infections. The majority of independent isolates had a unique DNA fingerprint, indicating extensive genetic heterogeneity within this species. Twenty-nine distinct DNA fingerprints were found among the 33 isolates investigated. This is in contrast to biotyping and serotyping, where only one type and three types, respectively, have been reported. The observed heterogeneity indicates that DNA fingerprinting is a sensitive measure of genetic dissimilarity between P. gingivalis isolates and is able to characterize individual isolates. These results have ecological implications, indicating that there is considerable natural diversity in the global population of P. gingivalis, and that there are likely to be relatively large numbers of genetically distinct clonal lines. Furthermore, DNA fingerprinting is a sensitive and powerful tool for longitudinal and cross-sectional epidemiological studies. This technique provides far greater discrimination between isolates than either biotyping or serotyping, and will be most helpful in, for example, the analysis of distribution of clonal lines within one periodontal patient, or the analysis of the transmission to and turnover of strain populations within a patient population, since the probability of two strains with the same DNA fingerprint being found by chance is small.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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