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J Clin Microbiol. 1996 Mar;34(3):652-6.

Multiple infections of Ixodes scapularis ticks by Borrelia burgdorferi as revealed by single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis.

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Department of Ecology and Evolution, State University of New York at Stony Brook, USA.


The genetic heterogeneity of the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi within single adult black-legged ticks from Shelter Island, N.Y., was determined by cold, single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) analysis. The central region of the ospA gene of B. burgdorferi from infected ticks was amplified by nested PCR. Amplified product of the correct size was obtained from 20 to 45 ticks (44%). This is the fraction of ticks that is expected to be infected with B. burgdorferi. Four variant classes were determined by SSCP analysis. Eight ticks were infected with a single variant, nine ticks were infected with two variants, two ticks were infected with three variants, and one tick was infected with all four variants. DNA from each variant was sequenced. Five different sequences were found. The sequence of each variant was different from that of another variant by a single base. SSCP analysis could distinguish three of the four single-base changes found in the region.

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