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Res Vet Sci. 1996 Mar;60(2):168-72.

Restriction fragment length polymorphism of polymerase chain reaction products applied to the differentiation of poultry campylobacters for epidemiological investigations.

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Central Veterinary Laboratory, Addlestone, Surrey.


A technique for subtyping Campylobacter jejuni isolates has been developed by using the restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) products of the flaA and flaB genes. The technique was validated by using strains representing 28 serotypes of C jejuni and it may also be applied to C coli. From these strains 12 distinct RFLP profiles were observed but there was no direct relationship between the RFLP profile and the serotype. One hundred and thirty-five campylobacter isolates from 15 geographically distinct broiler flocks were investigated. All the isolates could be subtyped by using the RFLP method. Isolates from most of the flocks had a single RFLP profile despite data indicating that several serotypes were involved. Although it is possible that further restriction analysis may have demonstrated profile variations in these strains, it is more likely that antigenic variation can occur within genotypically related campylobacters. As a result, serotyping may give conflicting information for veterinary epidemiological purposes. This RFLP typing scheme appears to provide a suitable tool for the investigation of the sources and routes of transmission of campylobacters in chickens.

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