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J Bacteriol. 1996 Jul;178(13):3934-8.

Population genetic analysis of Helicobacter pylori by multilocus enzyme electrophoresis: extensive allelic diversity and recombinational population structure.

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Section of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Houson, TX, USA.


Genetic diversity and relationships in 74 Helicobacter pylori isolates recovered from patients assigned to distinct clinical categories were estimated by examination of allelic variation in six genes encoding metabolic housekeeping enzymes by multilocus enzyme electrophoresis. Seventy-three distinct allele profiles, representing multilocus chromosomal genotypes, were identified. All six loci were highly polymorphic, with an average of 11.2 alleles per locus. The mean genetic diversity in the sample was 0.735, a value that exceeds the level of diversity recorded in virtually all bacterial species studied by multilocus enzyme electrophoresis. A high frequency of occurrence of null alleles (lack of enzyme activity) was identified and warrants further investigation at the molecular level. Lack of linkage disequilibrium (nonrandom association (of alleles over loci) indicates that horizontal transfer and recombination of metabolic enzyme genes have contributed to the generation of chromosomal diversity in H. pylori. In this sample of isolates, there was no statistically significant association of multilocus enzyme electrophoretic types or cluster of related chromosomal types and disease category.

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